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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Book Review: The Long Way Home by Andrew Klavan

The Long Way Home by Andrew Klavan
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The Long Way Home
by Andrew Klavan
The Homelanders

Thomas Nelson
ISBN-10: 1-59554-713-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-59554-713-2
Publication Date: February, 2010
List Price: $14.99

Review: Boom, Boom, BOOM! The police gunshots fire loudly, aiming at Charlie West. Charlie West is the main character in The Long Way Home. This is the second book in Andrew Klavan’s series of The Homelanders, and you kind of need to read the first book to understand this book, so if you still need to read The Last Thing I Remember (the first book) you should stop reading right now. This is a really good book, so read the two books and wait for the third in anticipation. Sorry, I can’t tell you the name of the third book, I don’t know it myself… This exciting action-packed book will have suspense waiting around every corner and every nook and cranny of this crazy-awesome book.

The Long Way Home is the second book in its series, so, again, read The Last Thing I Remember FIRST! Charlie West is running from the cops because of a murder he didn’t commit (He THINKS he didn’t commit it at least) hiding in his hometown, trying to find Waterman, and catches up with his friends, and Beth. Beth Summers is the love he can’t forget, or remember. He gets caught up in his hometown, and a few flashbacks. He is talking to his former karate teacher, and almost gets busted. It’s a good thing that he has super good logic and persuasion skills. Mind and body, brains and brawns people. So he escapes the cops, for about the millionth time by just a slim margin. At the very end of the book, he finds out who committed the crime, and barely saves someone dear to him from getting murdered by the bad guys. Will I tell you who did it? No, but I’ll give you a hint. It was a… person. What, you didn’t really think I’d even give you a small hint on who committed the crime did you? Oh… well… too bad so sad, read the book and find out!

This was a very good book and it had a great plot, amazing characters, and a setting to rule the world. The plot was obviously well planned and thought out, so it turned out great. The setting is detailed and makes me just love my home and family more than I already did, too bad that might not be possible. Andrew Klavan is obviously a very good writer and I cannot wait for the third book in this series to come out! This plot is good, the setting is good, and the characters are phenomenal. Charlie West is the main character and is a very nice guy. He has a soft-heart, but has his prickly side. If you try to hurt him, let me warn you, he knows karate and knows how to use it well. He protects the ones he loves and if you’re his enemy… well… you really shouldn’t be. Although, he prefers to knock you out, no death is really needed. Beth Summers is nice and sweet and would probably melt in the rain. This is because she’s as sweet as sugar. She’s tender and listens to you, making sure to pay much attention. Essentially, I must award this A-list book 5 stars on its wonderful quality.

Review written by Amanda (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Allen Media Strategies for providing a copy of The Long Way Home for this review.

Have you read The Long Way Home? How would you rate it?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Book Review: Maestoso Petra by Jane Kendall

Maestoso Petra by Jane Kendall
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Maestoso Petra
by Jane Kendall
Horse Diaries

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-375-85842-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-85842-0
Publication Date: April, 2010
List Price: $5.99

Review: Beautiful, strong, and majestic, these are all words that describe Petra the Lipizzaner stallion in Jane Kendall, and Ruth Sanderson’s Horse Diaries: Maestoso Petra. Petra is an old Lipizzaner stallion looking back on his youth.

In the beginning of the story, just before WWII, Petra is born. He spends the first four years of his life on Piber, the farm. He is at his mother’s side racing his brothers and sisters, and living a fun life. One thing that he is anticipating is turning white. One interesting thing about Lipizzaner horses is that they are born black, and as time goes on they change to grey, and eventually to their final color of white. Then he talks about being chosen to go to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, the most prestigious riding school of all. He is cared for by a man named Janni, who is very kind to Petra. When Petra is chosen to go to Vienna to go to the school, he doesn’t know what is going to happen. Janni actually pushes him into the cart, which surprises him a lot. Once Petra’s at the riding school, he learns to dance like a real Lipizzaner (LIPP-A-ZON). Petra, like most, can only master two air tricks, and takes lessons everyday to learn them. Once WWII breaks out, Petra, and the riding school is moved out of the dangerous city. After WWII the Lipizzaner stallions are going to have to prove themselves to the Americans to be saved, but Petra’s rider is hurt right before the show. His only other option is to send his sister, which would be totally ridiculous, but what else will he do? Find out in Horse Diaries!

Overall I found Horse Diaries: Maestoso Petra to be a fantastic book. I loved the way the author acted like she was the horse, and really got into the horse’s head. Petra is easy to relate to, and being a horse lover myself, I think that he sounds like a good horse that would protect you. I also loved the way the author talks; it was sort of in a whimsical way, with great tone. For example, “I am old now, but I have been young. And I remember.” The opening is very unique, and creative; it starts out giving a basic summary of all that happens in Petra’s lifetime, but it doesn’t give too much away. I also loved how the story doesn’t only focus on one part of Petra’s life, but how it focuses on all of it. Ruth Sanders’ illustrations really add to the story, and helped me visualize all of the events. I like how the story seemed real, and gave me the world through a horse’s eyes. I would recommend this book for all horse lovers. It may be hard for little kids to understand, because it makes a lot of references to WWII, but I recommend this book for anyone over third grade, as it is appropriate for all ages. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Review written by Kayley (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Maestoso Petra for this review.

Have you read Maestoso Petra? How would you rate it?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Book Review: Virginia by Susan Hughes

Virginia by Susan Hughes
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Virginia
by Susan Hughes
Non-series

Kids Can Press
ISBN-10: 1-55453-306-6
ISBN-13: 978-1-55453-306-0
Publication Date: March, 2010
List Price: $17.95

Review: Love, faith, secrets. That’s what Virginia is all about. Virginia is a heart-warming story with everything a good story needs. Virginia is a stand-alone book, written by Susan Hughes. The main characters are Ivy, a freshman in high school, Virginia, also a freshman in high school, Joe, a senior in high school, and Paul, a 23-year-old man who is the older brother of both Virginia and Joe. Ivy is basically Virginia’s best friend. If you want to hear more about them then read the review, or better yet, the book!

Ivy hasn’t talked to Virginia for a while. Everything got complicated after Virginia’s father passed away and her mom lost the baby. But, Virginia calls Ivy one day, asking if she could have Ivy over because she needs to tell her something important. So when they get together, Virginia tells Ivy that she has been visited by an angel and asked to have God’s child. Ivy is shocked. She thinks Virginia is hallucinating, or might have had something traumatic happen to her. Then, as she’s going to her house, to go back home, Joe runs into Ivy, literally, and she almost crashes to the ground, and she would have, if Joe hadn’t caught her. This is when she first discovers she might just like him. Later during the story, Ivy discovers Paul may just be trying to do something bad, really bad, because he thinks it will help God with the end of the world, when all the Christians die and go to heaven with all the nonbelievers stuck on earth, realizing how much it stinks to be stuck without the religious people.

This is a great book and I WISH it was in a series for me to read. The characters are great and very thought out. The plot all lead up to the ending, which is like a curveball. It threw me totally off guard; you always think this will happen, but, the ending is not what you think it should be. It’s amazing. It also has some really cool rhymes that help guide the story. They are very cool and I like to write them on post-it notes to remember them. It’s a dramatic, suspenseful story that has an ordinary girl drawn into some not so ordinary events. Not only will you question their beliefs, but yours as well. Ivy is a teenager, just starting freshman year, ready to make a bunch of friends and join the cross-country team of her school and then this phenomenon happens. Virginia is a quite girl who just keeps to herself, guarded by her older brothers and sisters, and Joe is a nice fun-loving guy. Finally, Paul seems mesmerizing and seems to draw you in, like he hypnotizes you. So, if you are stuck in a boring position with nothing to do but stare at the ceiling, groaning in the emotional pain of being bored, pick up Virginia. You will instantaneously get out of that slump and hooked to Virginia like a fish on a fishing hook.

Review written by Amanda (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Raab Associates, Inc. for providing a copy of Virginia for this review.

Have you read Virginia? How would you rate it?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Review: Conspiracy 365: April by Gabrielle Lord

Conspiracy 365: April by Gabrielle Lord
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Conspiracy 365: April
by Gabrielle Lord
Conspiracy 365

Kane Miller
ISBN-10: 1-935279-53-X
ISBN-13: 978-1-935279-53-2
Publication Date: April, 2010
List Price: $10.99

Review: Cal’s high-speed chase continues in the 4th installment in the Conspiracy 365 series by Gabrielle Lord titled April. Fifteen-year-old Cal has been running for his life ever since New Year’s Day. After the bizarre death of his father, Cal is warned that he must stay alive for 365 days, and in doing so, he must try to decipher the Ormond Riddle. While he’s on the run, he must also come to terms with the fact that his family doubts him, his sister is on life support, and everywhere he turns another group is after him.

Cal makes startling discoveries in April in his quest to solve the Ormond Riddle. He finds help in the strangest places and creates a home that seems to finally be safe. While Boges, his best friend, works at his end to conduct research and maintain the fa├žade of a normal life, Cal comes across a few keys to the puzzle. Unfortunately Cal must put the riddle on hold when he hears that his mother has agreed to pull the plug on his sister, Gabbi. Gabbi’s only hope is for Cal to come and see her in the bleak hope that his voice can help to bring her out of the coma. Cal finds a way to get to the hospital, but in the end his life is in jeopardy. He finds out even more definitively that his mother thinks he has the potential to murder someone, and word spreads that the psycho kid has once again tried to kill his sister. With all of Cal’s actions being misconstrued, he returns to his safe haven only to find out once again that he’s been found. Cal continues on the run, and readers will have to rush to read May to find out how Cal escapes this time.

The Conspiracy 365 series is quite possibly the most ingenious series created for kids. To coincide with Cal’s countdown to New Year’s Eve, the pages in each book appear in descending order. Each book is packed with action, perfect for any reluctant reader! Plus, as characters develop, the reader is drawn in even more. Each person Cal encounters in his quest is unique. From elderly ladies, to bizarre teenage girls, and to ingenious runaways, there is never a dull moment in characterization. Quite possibly the only frustration with the series is that the books are only published monthly! One book takes merely a weekend to read, and then the reader must wait . . . . . and wait for the ultimate cliff hangers to be resolved. It’s not like other books in a series that might leave a slight cliffhanger at the end of the book. The Conspiracy 365 series stops completely mid-action once the last day of the month is over. Fortunately each book begins with a recap from the previous month so readers won’t forget. April is not a book to just pick up and read on its own. Readers must start at the beginning of the series, but honestly it’s worth it. The Conspiracy 365 series will keep readers up deep into the night hiding under covers with a flashlight! Watch out parents – your children won’t be able to put it down.

Review written by Margo Nauert (6th grade teacher).

We would like to thank Kane Miller for providing a copy of Conspiracy 365: April for this review.

Have you read Conspiracy 365: April? How would you rate it?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book Review: The Case of the Phony Masterpiece by Fred Rexroad

The Case of the Phony Masterpiece by Fred Rexroad
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The Case of the Phony Masterpiece
by Fred Rexroad
Whiz Tanner Mystery

Rexroad International
ISBN-10: 0-98177-424-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-98177-424-4
Publication Date: July, 2009
List Price: $8.95

Review: Do you like suspenseful mysteries? Then The Case of the Phony Masterpiece is the book for you! This book stars Agent M and Agent K, or Whiz (Wilson) Tanner and Joey (Joseph) Dent. They own the Tanner- Dent Detective Agency. One day, Whiz and Joey decide to visit the museum, when they get a new “real/fake” painting from the Art Museum in another state. That night, Whiz and Joey see a strange man go in the side of the museum and come out later with a strange object, acting extremely suspicious. The real painting is replaced with a fake, and the Tanner-Dent Detective Agency is on the case to find the perpetrator. Fred Rexroad is a starting, self published author. This is his first book. There are two more in the series so far. These include The Case of the Wounded Pigeon and The Case of the Mysterious Countdown.

This book is the story of the Tanner-Dent Detective Agency's first major case that could save the town, and more than a few people's behinds. Whiz Tanner and Joey Dent are two top secret agents for their very exclusive Tanner-Dent Agency, actually only containing the two of them. When the boys decide to go to the museum, they decide it to be a great training experience because they see the professional security guards doing their rounds protecting brand new additions to it. Whiz proves that the picture is a famous “fake”, painted by a master art forger/thief, but he is right that this should be in a museum, and, as the plaque also says, it is very famous. The boys ask the main security guard if he can teach them how they can improve their detective skills and show them some of the important security tools to help them be better spies and detectives. The next day, when the boys go back to the museum, they see everyone freaking out. When they ask why everyone is upset and running around, the two are told that somebody has taken the painting, and it is gone completely from the building. When they do some investigating around the museum for the escape route or for any evidence, they find out that someone has left the back door slightly open, and that their criminal snuck out through there! Will they find the thief? Read on to find out.

I found The Case of the Phony Masterpiece to be a greatly intriguing story full of fun, humor, and action. Fred Rexroad worked very hard on this story and deserves a great deal of recognition for it, plus I'd like to tell him that he is a great author. With each word he wrote, the more detailed the description was, the more my mind made it into a movie. This story would make a perfect childrens' movie, for everything came out in scenes. I also give credit to Susan Rexroad for drawing a wonderful picture at the cover and gave me a better idea of what the boys looked like. I give this story and overall of five out of five stars, even though I'd love to give it more. This is a great story that I would recommend to anyone, but mainly for those in fourth or fifth grade. This is an overall enjoyable story.

Review written by Willow (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Fred Rexroad for providing a copy of The Case of the Phony Masterpiece for this review.

Have you read The Case of the Phony Masterpiece? How would you rate it?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Review: Unfamiliar Magic by R. C. Alexander

Unfamiliar Magic by R. C. Alexander
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Unfamiliar Magic
by R. C. Alexander
Non-series

Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-375-85854-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-85854-3
Publication Date: April, 2010
List Price: $17.99

Review: Do you like magical mysteries? How about romance, with a magical twist? R. C. Alexander's debut book, Unfamiliar Magic, is full of laughs, suspense, and teenage confusion. Desi is a witch, but her mother won't let her practice magic almost at all. For years, ever since she was little, Desi and her mother had to move from house to house almost every few months. When Desi's mother has to go away for some unknown reasons, Desi's familiar, her cat, Devil (Devalandnefrail) has been told to watch over her. Before Desi's mother had left, she had given Devil a potion that turned her into a human, which Desi had given her the name Catrina, or Cat for short. This story is a book of their adventure, of Cat learning human ways, and of Desi finding romance in the oddest of places. This is R. C. Alexander's first ever published novel, which is a standalone book.

Desi wants to practice magic. After all, she is a witch. But her “overprotective” mother won't allow her to do any magic, unless her mother is doing most, part, or all of it. When Callida (Desi's mother) has to leave for unspoken reasons, Devalandnefrail is left in charge of Desi, in the human form of Cat, or Catrina. Cat starts to fall in love with the next door neighbor's eldest boy, Bob, who also has huge feelings for her. At first, Cat only wanted him for two things, transportation to get sushi, and means to pay for sushi. Desi is trying to wrench the reasons for her mother's departure out of Cat, who won't tell Desi anything. Desi is also starting to fall in love, with the neighbor's younger boy, Jarrett. He also seems to like her, but Desi isn't sure. Cat is trying to learn the ways of humans, and Desi is trying to keep Cat from doing anything else stupid or putting the rest of the family at risk for being exposed as the witches they really are. As Desi tries out new and unfamiliar magic spells and potions, she finds that they aren't as easy as they seem. While Desi struggles to accomplish her overall task, to find her mother, she learns new things along the way. This book will be fun for the whole family.

Unfamiliar Magic is a book that the whole family could enjoy. From magic to romance, this book would be directed more to the female audience. The main character shows that even on their own, people can uncover new things. Desi and Cat, or Devalandnefrail as she is also called, learn that things are not always as they seem, too. Out of five stars, I would give this particular one five and a half out of five, because I just couldn't stop reading. Look out Harry Potter, there's a new witch on the way! With every word I read, every chapter, I became more and more engrossed in it. I would absolutely love to find out if there were any more about Desi after this.

Review written by Willow (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Unfamiliar Magic for this review.

Have you read Unfamiliar Magic? How would you rate it?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Book Review: The Fire Opal by Regina McBride

The Fire Opal by Regina McBride
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The Fire Opal
by Regina McBride
Non-series

Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-385-73781-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-385-73781-4
Publication Date: May, 2010
List Price: $16.99

Review: Sorcery, suspense and mystery are all abundant things in the beautifully written book, The Fire Opal by Regina McBride. Maeve O’Tullagh, a young girl, lived happily with her family of two brothers, a mother and a father in Ard Marcha, Ireland. When Nuala, their mother, has another baby, things couldn’t get better for Maeve and her family. But after the daughter Ishleen, is born, Nuala goes into a coma-like trance immediately after the birth.

Review written by Jonathan (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of The Fire Opal for this review.

Have you read The Fire Opal? How would you rate it?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book Review: Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
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Two Moon Princess
by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
Non-series

Tanglewood
ISBN-10: 1-933718-27-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-933718-27-9
Publication Date: June, 2010
List Price: $8.95

Review: The book, Two Moon Princess, is a flawless book. Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban did an outstanding job writing this book. Andrea, the main character, is not who you would think of when you want a young princess. Instead, she is a princess who doesn’t want to be what everyone else wants her to be. If you read this book, you will stay with Andrea through her attention-grabbing life.

Andrea is a daring young princess who just wants to be herself. She wants to be a brave knight. She has proven to the kingdom that she has the strength by winning the archery tournament. She has the courage to become whatever her heart wants, but there is something in her way, her father. However, her father, the king of the kingdom, wants her to be like her other sisters and become a proper young lady. Andrea is furious! All she ever wanted is to be a brave knight, and her father hates it! Later that night, Andrea runs away. On her journey to another island, she finds a flaw in her plain. The way to the island is far too dangerous for a little girl to face by herself. But that doesn’t stop Andrea. She goes for it anyway. When she gets there, she regrets it. She slips down a cliff, but thankfully, her dress that her dad makes her wear, saves her life. It gets caught on a nearby branch. Holding on for dear life, her uncle, the only person Andrea really trusts, saves her. He pulls her up off the cliff. Lovingly, her uncle makes her a deal, if she doesn’t run away ever again and respects her mother while she is teaching Andrea how to be a lady, he would teach her more about archery. For the love of the sport, Andrea makes the deal. The two of them ride back to the castle. The next day, Andrea shows up at the lessons like her other sisters, but doesn’t like it. Does Andrea keep her promise?

This was one of the best books I have ever read. I personally love how the author mixes a girly theme with a boyish theme. I could never put this book down; all I did was keep turning the pages. I cannot wait for the sequel to come out. This book did have its ups and downs, but even the downs were still interesting. I give this book a five out of five star rating. I barley found things that I couldn’t understand. I consider any person that believes that they can be whoever they want instead of who people want them to be should read this jaw-opening book. This book is filled with suspense, drama, passion, love, and much more. That’s why it is such a great book.

Review written by Sara (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Raab Associates, Inc. for providing a copy of Two Moon Princess for this review.

Have you read Two Moon Princess? How would you rate it?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Review: Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood by Jame Richards

Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood by Jame Richards
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Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood
by Jame Richards
Non-series

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-375-85885-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-85885-7
Publication Date: April, 2010
List Price: $16.99

Review: Floods, disowning people, and an intense love story make Three Rivers Rising, by Jane Richards, a confusing book. Told by multiple narrators, the story is about a flood that brings many lives together. Celestia, Peter, Kate, Maura, and Whitecomb all tell about their experiences in this romantic novel. Families are ruined, but the love between Celestia and Peter survives the harshest conditions. Will everybody drown or die of typhoid fever because of the flood, or will they survive? Read the book to find out how the lives of four families will be changed forever.

The first part of the book introduces the reader to the baffling ways of the book. The setting details the characters and general plot in a dull way. The plot picks up pace when Peter walked to the lake to go fishing and he saw Celestia, who was reading a book. They immediately fall in love and a series of chain events begin. Celestia learns that her sister, Estrella, has upset her lover and has to fade away from her family. Subsequently, Celestia pretends to have a fever and is sent back to Pittsburg. The following summer Kate becomes a nurse and Celestia looks for Peter again. But then the rain comes pouring into the rivers and the water splashes over the banks. Maura’s husband, Joseph, protects all of the people in Johnstown by sounding the train whistle that signals flood. When she has a dream, Celestia tries to save Peter, but gets separated from him by the flood. Celestia’s mother, Whitecomb, tries to find Celestia and helps families along the way to Johnstown. Celestia later finds Peter, and with the help of Kate, manages to save his life. But Celestia catches typhoid fever and Peter, who is now healthy, helps Celestia survive. In the end, Peter and Kate are welcomed to stay with Celestia’s family because they both helped to save Celestia.

Three Rivers Rising does not come highly recommended for most people because of the complexity. With multiple narrators, this book goes from one story to another without making sense. Too many points of view are made and some of the characters are greedy and stubborn. To make this book better, Jane Richards could have made the narrators all from Celestia’s family (Celestia, Whitecomb, her dad, and Estrella) plus Peter and his dad. On a scale from 1-10, this book gets a 4 because it is too puzzling and I found it to be boring. If you really are fond of love stories with a hint of excitement, this book would be good, but the numerous storytellers make it dull. There are better books in life, unless you are truly addicted to poem-like stories such as Three Rivers Rising.

Review written by Adam (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood for this review.

Have you read Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood? How would you rate it?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Book Review: The Case of the Wounded Pigeon by Fred Rexroad

The Case of the Wounded Pigeon by Fred Rexroad
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The Case of the Wounded Pigeon
by Fred Rexroad
Whiz Tanner Mystery

Rexroad International
ISBN-10: 098177-423--7
ISBN-13: 978-098177-423-7
Publication Date: December, 2009
List Price: $8.95

Review: It is spring, and there are only a few days of school left. Life is good. Whiz Tanner and Joey Dent are riding their bikes, when they find a pigeon. What they find out a few days later is that the pigeon is wounded, and attached to its leg is a coded message. Whiz Tanner immediately gets excited. He has had his own detective agency along with Joey Dent for quite some time, and they always love a new mystery on their hands. Though the police say to stay out of things, they still get their hands dirty and stick their noses into police business. The Tanner-Dent Detective Agency is back with a new case to solve. Can Agent M and K figure out what is wrong with the bird, and what the coded message is saying? Or, are they going to lose this mystery to the police? It’s a race to the end. Who do you think is going to win? The police, Tanner-Dent Detective Agency, or are they going to combine forces once, and figure it out together? Read The Case of the Wounded Pigeon to find out. This book is a second in the series written by Fred Rexroad, a very suspenseful and mysterious author.

This book is really amazing, and at parts, it actually pushed me of my chair. Literally! My favorite part in this story is when Joey perfects his high-speed dismount off his bike into Whiz’s backyard. It amazed me that Joey could actually get his high-speed dismount right. He could never dismount correctly without breaking a finger… or two. I also like the part when the two fugitives, get caught looking for the treasure. They get busted for it, and Whiz and Joey enjoy the rest of their summer peacefully- at least for a few hours until the next day when, Whiz calls Joey with their secret code. Joey groans and tells his parents he has another mystery to solve. I think that Fred Rexroad is an amazing author and that he has a great sense of humor. I can’t wait to read The Case of the Mysterious Countdown, the third book in the Tanner-Dent Agency series!

Review written by Karan (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Fred Rexroad for providing a copy of The Case of the Wounded Pigeon for this review.

Have you read The Case of the Wounded Pigeon? How would you rate it?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Book Review: Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner

Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner
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Thief Eyes
by Janni Lee Simner
Non-series

Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-375-86670-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-86670-8
Publication Date: April, 2010
List Price: $16.99

Review: Spellbinding, mysterious, and secretive describe Thief Eyes, an exquisite book written by Janni Lee Simner. Haley, a 16 year old girl, convinces her father, Gabriel, to take her to Iceland where her mother, Amanda, furtively disappeared, and was last seen. When she gets there she finds a coin with an ancient rune symbol on it, and she decides to keep it. But what Haley doesn’t know is that that the coin has a spell on it (cast by her old ancestor Hallgerd a sorceress) that entangles her in a fiery envelope. If she wants to get rid of the spell and find her mom, she must get help from her dad, Katrin (her father’s partner for work), and Ari (Katrin’s son). Haley then embarks on an epic quest to find Hallgerd and her mother with Ari. They both soon find out that Hallgerd’s spell, and Haley’s mother’s disappearance is connected to a chain of events that might consume the world--- IN FIRE! Haley must try hard and win this silly little game, but she needs help to do it. Do you think she can do it? Read the book and find out.

Thief Eyes is a mesmerizing story with sharp twists and turns. It is a very forceful book and it made me want to keep reading. My favorite part in the story is when Hallgerd and Haley switch lives for less than a minute. This part is my favorite part because it contains a surplus of action, and suspense. Thief Eyes should go on everybody’s summer reading list for 2010. Thief Eyes also earned many accolades from many readers such as Justine Magazine, The Reading Zone, and Jane Yolen (World Fantasy Award Winner). Also, I agree with what Jane Yolen said about the book “Pure, stunning, it is impossible to put down or forget.” This is true because Janni Lee Simner made this fantasy book look real, by making “…a completely original world that you will not be able to leave until you turn the last page.” – Justine Magazine. This book was really a good read!

Review written by Karan (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Thief Eyes for this review.

Have you read Thief Eyes? How would you rate it?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Book Review: The Dancing Pancake by Eileen Spinelli

The Dancing Pancake by Eileen Spinelli
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The Dancing Pancake
by Eileen Spinelli
Non-series

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-375-85870-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-85870-3
Publication Date: May, 2010
List Price: $12.99

Review: Humorous, sad, and dancing are three words that describe one book titled The Dancing Pancake, written by Eileen Spinelli, and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. The Dancing Pancake is about this girl named Bindi who is having trouble with her life. Her father has left her with her mother so that he could start his life over again. Noah Adams, who Bindi has a crush on, has moved. Her friends don’t spend as much time with her as before, and she has to move, again! Bindi can’t control anything, and it’s starting to get on her nerves. She can’t take it anymore. All the advice everybody is giving her isn’t doing her any good. Can she get everything control, or is everything going to take control of her? Read the book to find out.

The Dancing Pancake is a funny book, and I couldn’t put it down, until I got to the end. My favorite part of the book is when Mrs. Otis (a very crabby costumer) orders two eggs, over easy, and a just crisp piece of bread. And when she bites into the eggs, Jackson’s fake spider Inky jumps out of the eggs and make Mrs. Otis mad. As she stomps out of the breakfast & lunch restaurant, she yells to everybody who works at The Dancing Pancake “You are all in big trouble now! I’m calling my son, Toby. He’s a big lawyer. He’ll inform the Board of Health about this revolting incident…” This was my favorite part because it made me crack up. I almost fell of my bed, and I’m not kidding. This book is another book I think should go in everybody’s summer reading list. This is because it is, as I said many times before, humorous. And nobody can resist dancing pancakes. This is why it is a really, really good book. I hope Ms. Spinelli writes a sequel to this book, it would be really cool. And I have also established that I will read 3 or more of her book because I like the way she writes.

Review written by Karan (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of The Dancing Pancake for this review.

Have you read The Dancing Pancake? How would you rate it?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Book Review: I So Don't Do Makeup by Barrie Summy

I So Don't Do Makeup by Barrie Summy
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I So Don't Do Makeup
by Barrie Summy
I So Don't

Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-385-73788-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-385-73788-3
Publication Date: May, 2010
List Price: $16.99

Review: Makeup, mystery, and a hint of romance: don't you love all of these in a book? I sure do! I So Don't Do Makeup brings you back to Sherlock "Sherry" Holmes Baldwin as she takes you on an adventure to uncover... makeup? I So Don't do Makeup is third in the phenomenal series, following I So Don't Do Mysteries and I So Don't Do Spooky. This awesome mystery series is by Barrie Summy.

When Sherry has a sleepover with all her best buds, she doesn't think anything can go wrong! Even with her health-food addict stepmom "The Ruler" (her real mom was a cop that got killed, and so now Sherry's mom is a ghost works for the Academy of Spirits!) watching Sherry and her friends Junie, Brianna, and Kim, Sherry can't think of a better sleepover! She's got it all under control- pizza, then makeovers! Part of the makeover includes Nite Sprite Face Cream to leave on overnight. Unfortunately, Kim (who is Sherry's boyfriend's cousin) is part of the Janes, an unusual group at school who reject makeup. Early in the morning, Sherry, Brianna and Junie are awakened by a strange burning sensation on their faces. They all run to the bathroom to wash it off, and notice the red, dry, and scaly skin on their faces. Sherry and Brianna scream, and the Ruler comes running up the stairs to come to their aid. After a small amount of time, Sherry goes to the mall in search of Amber, who helps run the new mall kiosk, Naked Makeup, which is where the night cream is from. When they get there, Amber's manager Lacey gives them makeovers to hide their faces. All of a sudden, Sherry's boyfriend Josh calls. As they get more and more wrapped up in the Makeup Mystery (and more things get contaminated like lip gloss, hair cream, and other things) Sherry gets to spend Real Time with her mom (she can actually see her)as they solve the mystery and catch the culprit together.

I absolutely love this book. I hadn't read the first two books, I So Don't Do Mysteries and I So Don't Do Spooky, but I didn't need to because the author gives you all the information that you would need to understand from the first books, like who all of her friends are, and about her mom. I also like the characters, and how I could relate to them because they are about my age. Also, I really like the storyline, because the culprit is someone I would have never suspected. I like how her mom still lives on, and her grandpa too as a bird. This book sucked me in (as every great book should), and I could barely put it down! I like how the author didn't try to do the whole evil stepmother thing, too because I thought it wouldn't have been as good if she had. I recommend this book for people of all ages, even boys! It is one of the best books I have read in a while. All in all, I So Don't Do Makeup is definitely a five out of five on my book list!

Review written by Emily (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of I So Don't Do Makeup for this review.

Have you read I So Don't Do Makeup? How would you rate it?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Book Review: The Man From Hell by Barrie Roberts

The Man From Hell by Barrie Roberts
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The Man From Hell
by Barrie Roberts
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Titan Books
ISBN-10: 1-84856-508-9
ISBN-13: 978-1-84856-508-1
Publication Date: February, 2010
List Price: $9.95

Review: Barrie Roberts has done it again! Another tale has been added to the endless adventures of the famous Sherlock Holmes. The new book is titled Sherlock Holmes, The Man from Hell. In this case, Holmes has to deal with the mysterious murder of a well-liked Lord Backwater of Backwater Hall. While investigating, Holmes and Watson learn of the late Lord Backwater’s past and gain valuable information from the new Lord Patrick. Lord Patrick and many others accompany Holmes and Watson on this journey to find the truth of the murder. Though many follow, some may not return. At the end an unexpected suspect surfaces and turns the whole case upside down. Will Holmes be able to figure out the murder of Lord Backwater without being murdered himself? Find out in Barrie Roberts’ Sherlock Holmes, The Man from Hell.

This book really caught my interest. The way Barrie Roberts is able to put so much knowledge and character into his stories is unbelievable. Sherlock Holmes is a famous figure in the eyes of the youth today. He definitely is the world’s greatest detective. Many people thrive to acquire the knowledge of his ways and wish to think in a similar way. It inspires this generation to organize our thoughts to be able to figure out our own mysteries with not-so-common information. There are many legends and flashbacks within this story, which makes it seem all the more real. The final twist at the very end will throw readers’ minds in a whirl. It is a surprise no one will see coming, and Holmes not only astonished his followers, but his readers as well. These pieces of literature are of great value and deserve to be cherished. Out of a five star rating, I definitely give Sherlock Holmes a solid 5. Reasonable age groups to be considered are ages 12+ due to the amount of foul language (not much but enough to be aware of) used throughout the book. I wish to personally thank the author (Barrie Roberts) for creating such a thrilling story. I was on edge the whole time, and I hope to get my hands on the many other Sherlock Holmes books out there. He is probably my favorite character out of every book I’ve ever read.

Review written by Lynnea (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Titan Books for providing a copy of The Man From Hell for this review.

Have you read The Man From Hell? How would you rate it?

Book Review: Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee

Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee
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Seaglass Summer
by Anjali Banerjee
Non-series

Wendy Lamb Books
ISBN-10: 0-385-73567-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-385-73567-4
Publication Date: May, 2010
List Price: $15.99

Review: Addicting. Dazzling. A great ambition from cover to cover, Anjali Banerjee’s Seaglass Summer is an extremely well done book of a girl that faces a challenging decision that will change her life forever. This girl, named Poppy Ray, will think over and over about those kinds of decisions and discover what sacrifices have to be made in order to achieve her ambition.

Throughout her entire life, Poppy Ray dreams of being a vet just like her uncle Sanjay. Her mother however, is extremely allergic to animals with fur, making it impossible for Poppy to even get a good childhood experience with animals. This is why Poppy is overjoyed when she is invited to go over to her uncle’s house for a few weeks in the summer. Poppy wants to learn all about helping animals and actually do some of the work. Then Poppy discovers what true work and dedication it takes to be a veterinarian. But things soon seem to be harder than Poppy imagined. Will Poppy get past the flaws of being a vet such as the blood, the deaths and the most of all “plain gross stuff” or will she give up the dream that she has had for so long?

Seaglass Summer is a terrific book of a story that any young person can go through in their lifetime. I enjoyed the book because of the struggles that Poppy went through such as some deaths and wounds. On a scale of five stars, I give it the full five for that very reason. I recommend this book to the ages of 7 to 14 because of its connecting story to younger readers. All in all, I thought the book was beyond beautifully written. I would not be surprised if it was nominated next year to the Rebecca Caudill young reader’s book list. If it does, I believe it has a great chance of actually winning the award. This book was the first that I have ever heard of Anjali Banerjee, but I’m sure it will not be the last. Seaglass Summer has made me stop to think about my future and my dreams. I believe that books that can do that to a person are beyond ordinary.

Review written by Brandon (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Seaglass Summer for this review.

Have you read Seaglass Summer? How would you rate it?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book Review: March by Gabrielle Lord

March by Gabrielle Lord
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March
by Gabrielle Lord
Conspiracy 365

Kane Miller
ISBN-10: 1-935279-52-1
ISBN-13: 978-1-935279-52-5
Publication Date: March, 2010
List Price: $10.99

Review: Once again, Callum Ormond is in death’s door. In March, the third book in the Conspiracy 365 series written by Gabrielle Lord, Cal is still trying to uncover the Ordman Riddle. With a train bearing down upon him and the police after him, who knows what will happen next.

With the train bearing down upon him, Cal blacks out. He wakes up in a tunnel with his wound fixed by a man called Repro who happens to be a black belt. They go to his secret base and are almost found by police. He leaves and heads back to his old hideout in an abandoned house. Boges comes soon and they look over the drawings his dad made. They go to a library and find new comments on Cal’s blog. Cal arrives at an office after being called by his dad’s nurse and gang thugs show up. Cal runs and looses them, but get bit by a death adder snake. He barely gets the anti-venom and escapes. Boges come by Cal’s ‘house’ again with Winter on his tail. They talk and after Winter leaves a policeman shows up. Cal and Boges barely escape. Cal runs back to Repro’s hideout to get him to help break into the house of a person after him. They go the next day. They find a file then are found by goons. Cal jumps out of the window and Repro found his own way out. Cal hitchhikes onto a truck and he and the driver are driven off the road by the goons. Will Cal finally be caught?

March deserves 5 out of 5 stars. As usual in the series the chapters are written by days and times. The pages go 197-178-177-etc instead of 1-2-3-etc. The story is very interesting and I got tied into it easily. I like the part when Cal got bitten by a snake. To my surprise no one after Cal has shot after him. So do they just run and tackle instead of shooting? I think Cal should be shot at, but not killed. So I think readers who like action will enjoy this book and the rest of the series.

Review written by Zach (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Kane Miller for providing a copy of March for this review.

Have you read March? How would you rate it?