Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hemingway Man by Jim Maher

In the book the Hemingway Man, a sixteen year old Will has
just lost his father. At his father s funeral, one of his
dad s friends approaches him, and tells him that he will now
have to be the man in the family. Will is very lost on this
subject because he has no one to guide him into manhood.
Will searches for guidance, and finds a role model in Ernest
Hemingway, an American writer. Hemingway had four steps to
become a man-- 1. Plant a tree  2. Fight a bull  3. Write a
book  4. Have a son. When Will first finds this counsel, he
is delighted at such an easy answer, but as he sets out on
his mission, not everything is as easy as it seems. Will s
journey takes him through the pain, mental and physical, of
growing up. Although Will may not complete Hemingway s list,
he uncovers the true man in himself even if it might not be
Hemmingway s man.

I really enjoyed reading this book a
lot. It was a realistic example of a teenager growing up
with all of the external and internal pressures of modern
times, while still being comical. I would put this book
under realistic fiction because it realistically told the
story of Will growing into a man, even with his failures. If
I could change three things in this book, it would be that I
would add more emotion, other than just laying in his bed,
of losing his father in the beginning. I would also explain
what the italicized parts of the story were. Lastly,
sometimes the book wandered off into areas that were not
really related to the story, but then the important details
were just briefed over. I relay enjoyed reading this book,
and I was laughing in a lot of parts. It s great!

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country:
Lederach, PA United States

Vampire Kisses 8

Our story takes place after Alexander's party. We find our two protagonists on a romantic date but this is soon ruined when they spot Jagger's hearse in front of the old factory. Upon examining the factory they find Jagger and Sebastian discussing the opening of a new club here. With this discovery two emotions start to flood Raven; fear and happiness. A club would be great for the town but if it were open to vampires Alexander could be in danger of being found out. Now it is up to Raven to convince Jagger to open the club only to humans. Although there could be even more trouble if Raven's best friend Becky finds out the truth.
I am always amazed by Ellen Schreiber. She writes beautifully always achieves her purpose. Her characters are easy to picture and her descriptions are so good I can almost draw them. I am absolutely in love with Vampire Kisses. I can't wait for the next book.

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Az city, Arizona USA

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

he Last Apprentice: Rage of the Fallen by Joseph Delaney

In this book a boy named Tom Ward is headed to Ireland, but for an odd reason. Tom is a spook's apprentice- he deals with the dark everyday-which gives him an upper hand. His master and him are  in a pickle. They have to either stall the devil from tormenting Tom's soul, or stop the the wizards from stealing power from the old god Pan. Well, I'll let you find out the rest.

I'd say, it's a good stand alone book. I read it with out even reading book 1 in the series! I think the author really hit the spot with this book. He also had developed character like i've never seen before. I mean, he created a whole new career with this series! If you like a book with magic a bit of gore, and gods getting their butts kicked, this is your kind of book.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Merced, CA United States

Angel In My Pocket by Ilene Cooper

Angel in my Pocket is about a girl named Bette, who finds a coin with an angel on it in a pile of money her sister earned in a car wash, for charity. It s like a good luck charm for her. A person named Gabby moves in downstairs and looks like an angel to Bette. After Gabby moves away Joe steals Bette s angel coin. She was so upset at first, but soon forgets about it.  Joe soon starts having good luck too. He gives it to Andy whom Joe takes money from, like a bully. He gives the coin to Andy who has a sister named Vivian who has bad asthma. They all become friends. Andy and Vivian are going on a trip to Florida and hope to bring Bette. Let s just say& both Bette and Vivi find a special someone.
                 More to come read the book!

I really liked Angel in my Pocket. The format was great for my reading style and the story itself was awesome. It's the kind of story  that kids ages 10 to 13 or 14would like if they are into stuff like angels. It's not really that much about angels. So, Angel in my Pocket is appropriate for the recommended age group... and it's a REALLY GREAT BOOK!

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Claremont, New Hampshire United States

Gladius and the Bartlett Trial by, J.A. Paul

In the Wiggin culture, once a child has reached the age of fifteen they must embark on a journey call the Bartlett Trial. They must prove their worth by surviving in the wilderness for one month before returning home and collecting some money. Sounds like you just have to camp for a month to get some serious cash right? That is what Gladius Oldmont thought for a while. But after hearing of his family's experiences he is determined to have an adventure greater than his siblings. And so that adventure was began the moment that he enters the wild. After being attacked by a great cat he meets a man named Flint. Together they work to help reclaim to home of the Lake people. Can they succeed against a hoard of death bats? Find out in Gladius and the Bartlett Trial.

Gladius and the Bartlett Trial was a fairly good book. It supplied plenty of action and suspense along with enough of a plot to keep the readers hooked. Though it maintained a steady tempo throughout most of the book it faltered in some places. It was a great renaissance themed book and was enjoyable from cover to cover. I would recommend this book to just about everyone looking for a thrilling action-adventure book.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: P. Hurley, Mineola, Texas,  America

Trying to Figure Out Some Great Reads For Teen Boys This Summer?

Check out this excellent list by Don Calame (author of Swim The Fly) on some of the books that helped him turn reading from a chore to a pleasure. The list contains books specifically designed for the teenage boy who wants something humerous, insightful, and true to life. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Galapagos Islands by Terry Ross

The Galapagos Islands, the first of the Steve Trek Adventures, is a novel written by a first time author, Terry Ross. The author has always loved the sea and he shows it in his book. He writes about a young, charming divemaster, Steve Trek, his love interest, Jenny, and his friends, Doc and Jeff. Steve and his crew encounter iniquitous drug lords. Together the gang defends the peace of the Galapagos Islands, a beautiful and exotic landscape surrounded by pristine waters, and later confront and defeat the merciless leader of the drug lords, Hiro.
For a first time author, Terry Ross has written a creative piece. His idea to write about divemasters is unique. His sentences and descriptions are clear. His choice of setting, the Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin discovered the variety of species and started to develop his theory of evolution, is very appropriate.
However, I must admit there are some flaws. The story seems to be in a hurry, for one. For example, the love line was introduced in the very start of the plot. Regardless of the hasty plot, the story seemed to make pauses whenever introducing new material, sometimes abrupt ones. While reading, I was confused by the tense in which the author was speaking on numerous occasions. Also, the book would be more enjoyable if the outline were subtler; many times I thought that the scenario seemed obvious.
All in all, The Galapagos Islands is a good book, but not a great one.
The love interest of the book might be considered suggestive and portions contain violence.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Washington Depot (Seochogu), Connecticut (Seoul) USA (Korea)

Almost Final Curtain by Tate Halloway

Wow! High school really sucks! Ever since Anastasija Parker found out she was half vampire and half witch, her life has been spiraling out of control. Between boyfriend troubles, spring musical tryouts, and trying to please her parents, Ana almost doesn’t have time to breathe. To make matters worse, an ancient talisman that allows witches to turn vamps into slaves has just been stolen from its safe house. Ana needs to track it down fast, or else this year’s performance may just be her last.

Tate Hallaway has made a masterpiece! Her thrilling sequel to Almost to Die For has forbidden love, mythical creatures, and an awesome battle scene. She really pulled me into the story, especially in the more intense scenes. There were a few parts though where the writing didn’t seem to flow; I wish she could’ve made those scenes fit a little better into each other. Otherwise, it was a wonderful book that I’d be happy to read again. I’d recommend this book to 13-15 year olds. It’s not entirely for little kids, but it might not be what an older teen is looking for in a good read.

Reviewer Age: 14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Passion by Lauren Kate

This book starts off right were the Torment left off, after Luce jumps into the Announcer. As Luce travels through her past reincarnations, she discovers what really happened between herself and Daniel. With some help from a little gargoyle friend, she discovers what Daniel was hiding from her. But soon Luce starts to doubt whether he loves her or just her soul. Will their relationship survive the journey?

This book was great. I loved how descriptive the setting and characters were. I did not like that the story had no background to it. I recommend this book to people who liked Hush, hush, Banished, Delirium, and Nightshade

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Northglenn, CO United States

Paradise Island by J.L. Manning

Paradise Island Summery
By: Ellie Johandes
This book starts when Josh and Anna win an island through a credit card company contest. They then proceed to build a small resort with huts, a sauna, and a pool at the top of the volcano. Most of the workers they hire are scared off by strange events that occur around the trees.  The first guests arrive and encounter tree spirits.  WARNING: I HAD TO FORCE MYSELF TO READ THIS BOOK! It was that boring.
Paradise Island Book Review
By: Ellie Johandes
This book was like a bad apple: full of promise on the outside, but when you cut it open, it was squirming with  worms.  I was excited in the beginning, because Josh and Anna won a small island through a credit card company's contest. But as they were building on it, weird things start to happen with the trees. I personally think that the author spent too much time building the resort. By the middle of the book, I couldnt tell you more than three sentences on the characters' personalities. It gets a bit more interesting when the guests finally arrive, with a girl who sees the paranormal. But when the guests leave, it goes back to being unbearably dull. It ends with a bad, drop off ending that does not finish the book properly.  The author has a choppy writing style that makes it difficult to read, and the book contains many grammatical errors to boot (example, page 118 the last sentence in the first paragraph, it should be their instead of there). I would not recommend this book to anyone, and am surprised it even was published. I hope I get a better book next time. 

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Rockford, Michigan United States of America

Kiss of Death by Lauren Henderson

Kiss of Death, by Lauren Henderson, was a wonderfully written book with its own twist on a traditional type of story line. Having failed to realize it was the last book in a series when I chose this book, I would hardly have figured out that it happened to be a sequel if I hadn’t checked. Noted, I did wonder why it left so much unexplained. This book is about the adventures of Scarlett Wakefield while on a school trip to Edinburgh. This school trip turns out to be no pleasure retreat however, for someone’s out to get Scarlett. When Scarlett is faced with a rather unpleasant blast from the past at a Celtic Connections concert, she falls into a void of memories, which include a few boys, and a couple near death experiences. To the avid readers of this series it will make perfect sense, and I even grasped more than just the general idea of the happening between Scarlett and her ex-best friends, Luce and Alison, who appeared with noted contempt for Scarlett. Plus, an old murder rears its ugly head in the appearance of the victim’s twin brother. After a prank goes wrong, which nearly ends in Scarlett’s death, Scarlett must find out who’s behind this mystery before it’s too late.
I hugely enjoyed this book. I liked that it showed individuality when there are a million or so teen mystery romances. As a boy, I will never understand fully the emotional trip that Scarlett is tumbling head over heels through, however, I marvel at how the character is flushed out. On the down side, I felt she was just a little dependent on others. For instance, she spent a good portion of the book bemoaning the fact that her boyfriend wasn’t right by her side. Still she almost seemed to be a real person. One of the most amusing and logic based characters in this novel was Scarlett’s best friend, Taylor. In fact, she had me chuckling throughout most of the book. Taylor seemed like the anchor of sense through the pages of this novel. The obvious bully in this tale was Plum; the rich, self-absorbed and domineering bully who has it in for every other girl in Wakefield Hall. I was cringing as she tormented Scarlett with her sideways comments, snide remarks, and other general unpleasantness she displayed towards the heroine. I am looking forward to reading the previous books in this series, and advise anyone who’ll listen to give it a go. It’s quite worth it.   
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Monrovia, MD USA

The Crepe Makers' Bond by Julie Crabtree

Ariel has had 'M' as a friend forever, and Niki soon came to the group. And they are BFFs FOREVER! Things change when the girls hit their 8th grade year. Ariel think she is the laughing stock of the year when she trips in front of the whole school on the first day. But then people start acting all nice and sympathetic to her and she doesn't know why. Luckily Ariel has her baking. She cooks when she is nervous and her friends are always willing to be her guinea pigs. But is it enough to deal with the upcoming problems? Something is up with Niki, and M is on the point of a breakdown. The girls think they fixed M's problem, but they made it worse. A lot worse. For all of them. Will they ever survive this friendship crisis?

The Crepe Maker's Bond was an entertaining novel. I felt that I could truly relate it. I was familiar with all the emotional things that Ariel was facing. In middle school friends are tough and you don't often know where they stand. Another delicious thing about this book was that they had little recipes pertaining to that chapter. I tried one and I was a huge hit in my family! The only problem I had was with the ending. It was predictable and a bit too 'happily ever after'. All in all this is a book you should read.  

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Coconut Creek, Florida U.S.A

Dragonfaerie by Christoper A. Cooke

Will is crazy. So everyone thinks, when he is constantly babbling about how a goblin came out of the closet and stole his baby brother. But 10 years later, the goblin comes back for him, taking him to Enoch, another world. A girl rescues him and they meet with a party of men, the leader of who assigns the girl to be Will's teacher until he is able to return to his own world. To return to Earth, Will, his teacher Adept Tenhmur, and his friend Prentice McBride must seek out the help of the Dragonfaerie. Enduring painful training and a dangerous journey, they at last meet the Dragonfaerie. But instead of returning home, Will stays in Enoch, for he learns that his brother still lives...

Enoch is a world so different from ours that Will is completely lost, but it is still detailed and believable. The plot has many twists and turns that lead you in circles right up until the end. The characters fit perfectly with their world and are just as detailed and believable. Many stories related with great battles are right in the middle of it, with a few key characters who can turn the tides of war and whatnot. But in this story, the two lands of Enoch are at the brink of war, close to fighting but not there, just spying and inside operations. Yet even so it only touches on the whole war idea and instead focuses on the character making the deadly journey to a goal he is not even sure he wants. All in all it is a wonderful adventure.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Santa Fe, TX USA

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Briony Larkin lives in rural Swampsea with her troubled sister, Rose, and her father. For years, she s kept the secret that she s a witch from everyone she knows, afraid of being sentenced to death. She also believes that she s responsible for her sister Rose s mental state. When Mr. Clayborne and his son Eldric arrive, she strikes up a friendship with the son. However, she doesn t reveal either of her two secrets to him. When Rose develops a swamp cough, Briony turns to the Boggy Mun, for help. Unfortunately, she gets into quite a bit of trouble.

Chime, by Franny Billingsley, was a surprisingly enjoyable read. Briony was a multi-faceted, interesting character. She seemed genuinely upset over her sister Rose s condition. The other characters, such as Eldric, were also quite intriguing. The plot, with its swamp cough and Old Ones, was unique. It did not seem like a retelling of another book, or a combination of books. The gripping writing style keeps the reader focused and interested. This book is certainly recommended to readers interested in fantasy fiction

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, SC United States

Plan B by Charnan Simon

Plan B by Charnan Simon is a book about the challenges  and roadblocks teenage pregnancy can put in the way of an otherwise successful and responsible teen.  The plot follows the story  of a junior girl named Lucy who is  at the top of her class, a really good dancer, popular, and of course has a handsome boyfriend to top it all off. She and her boyfriend have long term plans to go to the same college and get married and live their lives out together in a picture perfect manner.  Of course, none of these plans include getting pregnant at 16! Now, Lucy and Luke are faced with difficult decisions and must make hard choices. With their relationship in shambles, they need to leave their carefree childhoods behind and quickly become adults.

This book would have fit perfectly in an after school special. You know, that moment when the concerned teacher character, or the best friends mom wants to help the at risk girl with the low reading level understand that pregnancy is serious business. Unfortunately, the book is as terrible as the majority of those after school specials were. In only 98 pages in (at minimum) size 16 point font, the plot manages to drag its heels and linger on the unimportant stuff. Even the sensual parts of the book did not managed to be interesting, merely a bit over the top. We hear way to much about her  dancing and how it s a metaphor for her life and not nearly enough about the only interesting part of the book, the relationship between the (also a teen mom) mother and Lucy. We walk away from this book with very little insight on either of the two main characters or what they are actually going to do with the baby once it comes. Unless I become a concerned teacher on an after school special, I would never consider recommending this book to anyone.

Sexual content

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Exeter, NH USA

The End by Nora Olsen

The End by Nora Olsen is about five kids that have all come
together by one strange thing, a magical amulet from mystical
gods who want them to save the world because of a nuclear war.
They have to learn to protect themselves from nuclear
radiation all while figuring out to travel back in time. The
pressure of saving the human race is on them. Will they be
able to handle the pressure and save the world?
The book is an adventure because they have to travel to all
different parts of the world to find everybody who has a
magical amulet.

I REALLY enjoyed this book! It kept me turning the page and
I couldn t set it down.
The author s voice was always very distinctive. The narrator
was always changing from every person and yet they all
reflected the author a little bit.  The main characters were
Julia, Vikki, Marly, Ginger, and Skilly. The characters were
hard to believe as actual people because they had magical
I wish the ending had been a bit different because it was a
little strange and also suspenseful so I hope she comes out
with a second book in the series.
I definitely would recommend this book to others because I
enjoyed it very much.

I rated the book a 3 because some of the characters were
lesbians and it also talked about sex.

Reviewer City, State and Country: Valparaiso, Indiana

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti

Sometimes Brooke Greene just knows things.  Not in the way of being super smart (thought she is a teenage genius as well), but in the sense that The Knowing is always right.  And right now, The Knowing is telling her that she and Scott Abrams were destined to be together. That explains why she followed Scott when he moved from a suburb town in New Jersey to the bustling New York City. But sometimes, life has a way of turning unexpectedly.  NYC brings out a side of Brooke that no one has seen before, a side hidden from insecurities.  So when her opportunity to be with Scott arrives, will she take it, or take another path?

I really enjoyed this book every page of the way.  Brooke has so many hidden layers and the reader learns so much more about her as the story goes on.  The stuff you will find in the book is real life drama it could happen to anyone, which is another reason why it is so interesting.  There is a great motto buried throughout the book Look Up that I love (you ll have to read the story to find out why this is so important).  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading Sarah Dessen books because this shares a lot of the same qualities.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Gearhart, Oregon United States

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vlara's Song by Neil O'Donnell

Summary: Vlara's Song is a set of several stories - some short, some long. The first story is Vlara's Song, telling of a druid priestess who traveled a long way to her husband's family. She is haunted by visions of Harrison (her dead husband) throughout her journey. Wizard's Woe, the second tale, is about a wizard who kicked out a foolish apprentice and was never seen afterwards. In the third story a soldier loses his memory during a battle and can't remember whose side he's on. The fourth tale tells of a troll who refused to eat human flesh and eventually became a monk. The next three stories are: Siege's End - about the last days of a keep facing too many enemies, Master's Calling - the tale of a magician with unruly apprentices, and Hidden Temperament - about a wolf who, when angered, becomes larger and humanlike. The last story, The Realm of Author, tells how when authors die the worlds they created become real and the authors themselves become one of the characters.

Opinion: This book was astounding; not simply because of the stories themselves but because of the feeling I got while reading. For example, Vlara's Song was distinctly sad, Soldier Lost was full of confusion, and the author's notes were very humorous. Many of the characters were extremely determined and persevered in helping their friends. All these characters made it through many difficulties (with a little help from friends). I liked the ideas behind The Realm of Author, which would make it possible for authors to visit worlds from their favorite books. I would love to visit Narnia. (Guess I better create an awesome literary world.) I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to read stories where you can feel what the characters feel.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA

101 Ways to Become a Superhero by Richard Horne and Helen Szirtes

101 Ways to Become a Superhero is the definitive guide for anyone who wants to don a cape, fight super-villains, or leap tall buildings. The book has 101 "ways," or tasks, to become the ultimate superhero. However, you can also use these ways to become an evil genius. Each "way" outlines items you will need as well as objective to complete to master that "way" to becoming a superhero. It is a book that is meant to be written in, and there are spaces for you to place photos and stickers to track your progress. 101 Ways to Become a Superhero is the ultimate interactive journey to becoming your own hero. Warning: The book won't actually make you fly.

101 Ways to Become a Superhero is another book in the authors' "101 Ways" series. However, the subject of superheroes and super-villains is quite different from the other topics they have examined. The authors deliver a fun, enjoyable experience through this book. Each page has items to fill out as well as places for pictures and stickers (stickers are provided in the back of the book). Younger readers will get more value as they are more likely to do some of the tasks outlined in the book. They are advised to get some help from their parents in gathering materials and inserting pages and photos in the book. Although this book's main use is geared towards its interactive use, the book can also provide value for older readers who may be interested in writing their own superhero stories. The 101 ways give an aspiring author plenty of questions to mold an origin story for a new hero or villain. Overall, I think this book will give readers a very unique experience, and it is a great choice for younger children who want to have fun becoming their very own superhero.

Reviewer Age:21
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

Into the Unknown by Stewart Ross

Into the Unknown by Stewart Ross is a great teacher recourse. Not only are the maps big, detailed, and easy to follow and read, but the book is actually hard to put down! While some of the explorers you learn about most students already heard about, this book puts these explorers in a whole new perspective.  As I was reading this book, I also didn't realize how much inventions from other countries affected the explorers. I recommend this book to any student who has to learn about explorers, any teacher who needs a book on explorers, or any kid who is just interested in learning about explorers
In my opinion, this book was actually kind of interesting. It is not a book I would read if I had a novel with me, but if that was the only book I had I would read it. I was afraid this book would be a snore, but it wasn't. In a way, it was interesting to read because it was factual. I learned things I had not known about explorers and odd things, such as how silk is made. This book has improved my mind, and how things we take for granted, such as a compass, really have improved our world

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Nappannee, Indiana United States of America

The A Circuit by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The A Circuit has an unusual toleration/friendship that seems to work: Tommi, a billionaire heiress; Kate, a true working student; and Zara, the daughter of a famous rock star. However, Kate and especially Tommi don t want Zara around, which may have been because she was acting superior and expecting everyone to serve her. These girls do work through their differences, and eventually tolerate each other. The A Circuit is a fast-paced book and will keep any reader on their toes.

I enjoyed this book, however I would have enjoyed the book more if the language would have been appropriate. This book may not be a best seller, but the author has a lot of talent and could have some best sellers. This book is all about horses, so it will appeal to any girl who loves horses or thinks she does. However, parents would be advised to read this book before there child, especially if she is younger. If any young girl enjoys this book but would like a horse series with cleaner language, I would recommend the series Canterwood Crest.  
some bad language I would have made it a 1.5 but that was not available so I just put two.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Nappannee, Indiana United States of America

Departures by Christy Miller

   While heading out for summer vacations, Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen cross paths. They will soon realize the true meaning of friendship.

   After a high school graduation and a breakup from Todd, Christy Miller sets out with her family to Wisconsin for her grandparents 50th Wedding Anniversary. While in her hometown, Christy reconnects with Matthew Kingsley, her old crush from junior high. As the two bond, Matthew shows a romantic interest in Christy. Christy will soon realize that this summer vacation will have a big impact on her future.

   Sierra Jensen's summer vacation is starting off great. Sierra is going to a lake cabin with her best friend Jana and Jana's family. As they arrive in Montana, Sierra soon realizes that Jana is set on getting a boyfriend and will do whatever it takes to get one. Sierra just wants to enjoy the vacation with Jana and hang out with the guys as friends. Sierra will need to discover her true feelings and realize that she is growing up.

 I really enjoyed this book. I liked both characters in the story. Christy's story line was a great way to show how two people can reconnect after such a long period apart. Sierra's story line was an effective way to show how girls grow up and what they will do to get guys to notice them. The plots and settings of these stories were used appropriately. The settings made sense in the story lines and the plot kept me turning pages in the book. 

  I would recommend this book to girls who love romance and friendship.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Springfield, Ohio US

Start It Up by Kenrya Rankin

Start It Up is a complete guide that helps budding entrepreneurs realize their dream and expand their horizons. It covers the entire process of starting a business, from the initial planning to official paperwork filings to customer service. In each step, Rankin presents factual information required to accomplish the step, tips that will facilitate and enhance the process, and anecdotes from successful teen entrepreneurs. For example, this book describes the pros and cons of each of the three type of legal structures for a business: sole proprietorship/partnership, limited liability company, and corporation. It also provides several arguments for whether or not to form a partnership or go solo. Lastly, stories of teen entrepreneurs on their experiences throughout the process reinforce the themes described in the book. Founders of Free Mania and, among many others, describe what they learned since starting their businesses as teenagers. There are also web resources at the end of every chapter that provide useful information to supplement the material presented. Overall, this is a very thorough manual to starting a business and should be an interesting read to anyone with a desire to become an entrepreneur.

Like I said before, the book is fairly thorough and covers pretty much every aspect of starting a business. Being an introductory book, it serves as a beginning guide for people (especially teenagers) who are interested in entering the entrepreneurship field. But it is certainly not detailed enough at every single step to be the sole consultant of a starting business. One of the most helpful features is the personal anecdotes by people who have gone through the same process and excelled. Reading their stories put things in perspective and helps us learn from their experiences.

Personally, I believe that the hardest part of starting a business is finding that Next Big Idea . The obstacle for an entrepreneur is not necessarily whether or not a company name is trademarked, but what product/service to provide in the first place. It often seems like every conceivable idea out there has already been thought of. In terms of finding that lightbulb moment, Start It Up offers little advice other than pursue something you are good at . While the stories do offer how other teen entrepreneurs first came up with their ideas, I'd prefer if more tips are given on how to come up with a unique idea that combines both a person's strength and a necessity in society. Other than that, the rest of the book will be of significant help to the beginning entrepreneur.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Palo Alto, CA USA

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nerd Camp by Elissa Brent Weissman

     In the book, Nerd Camp, by Elissa Brent Weissman, the main character Gabe, is invited to camp at the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment, or as some of the kids call it, the Summer Center for Geeks and Eggheads. Gabe is really excited for camp until he meets his soon to be step brother Zack. Zack is cool, handsome and grammatically incorrect, everything Gabe isn t. Gabe really wants his brother to like him, so he hides his intelligence, for the most part. At camp Gabe has more fun than ever! He loves his classes and his two bunk mates, Wesley, who talks in his sleep, and Nikhil, who always plays it safe. The only person he doesn t get along with is a girl named Amanda who claims that they were meant to be! . But life in camp turns upside down by a lice epidemic, which may cause the camp to cancel the camper s favorite event, Color War. Will Color War be cancelled? Will Gabe be brought down by lice and a girl? Or will he forever be labeled a nerd by his step brother? Read the book Nerd Camp and find out.

Nerd Camp is the perfect summer read for someone who wants to relax and have a few laughs. I thought that this book flowed very smoothly. It was also a very content and light read. The characters in this book are very agreeable and are the kind of people you d love to get to know. My only complaint would be that there wasn t a lot suspense or drama throughout the story. Overall I though this book was well written and a very fun read.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leawood, Kansas United States of America

The Silver Mage by Katharine Kerr

The dragon Rori, formerly known as the man Rhodorix, is closer than ever before to getting his human form back. However, the one thing that holds the secret to his restoration is in the wild northlands, in the hands of a slave. An army of Horsekin is marching, and only with the help of Dallandra, Valandario, and Salamander can they be stopped, and Rori restored. With Haen Marn, the Island of Healing, having vanished, the heros' fear of losing the war grows.
I loved this book. It could have done better on the descriptions, but the characters were, in my opinion, very well written. One thing I liked was how the author left some of the characters hanging, but left just enough of a guide line for you to imagine their end. It is like many fantasy books but has its own uniqueness. I liked the ending, since it seems to have resolved the main conflict of the whole series: Rori, a man, being turned into a dragon. I would recommend this book to anyone that reads books about magic and mythical creatures.
Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Ardmore, Oklahoma United States

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Instinct by Jeremy Robinson

This novel is the second in a continuing series about the Chess Team. The genre is military science fiction and fantasy. When a weaponized disease stops the president's heart, he is revived only because of the actions of the Secret Service. However, the deadly disease threatens the human race with extinction. The Chess Team, a group of five highly trained members of the United States military, is secretly sent to the disease's point of origin in Vietnam. Its mission is to escort a CDC scientist as she searches for a cure, but many dangers, such as Vietnamese soldiers, a bizarre humanoid species, and the disease itself, complicate the task.
I have read and enjoyed the previous book in the series, Pulse, and I also enjoyed this novel. It mixes modern military tactics and weaponry with fantasy and science fiction. The result is a story which is impossible but is still grounded in fact. As a result, I recommend this book mainly to people who enjoy both adventure, especially military adventure, and fantasy. As the story progresses, it becomes less realistic but remains entertaining. This book can be understood without reading the previous one in the series, and the main story concludes by the end of the novel. However, a new complication relating to the earlier book is introduced in the epilogue. I would recommend reading the previous novel first, if only because it is a great read that introduces the characters.
This book has lots of violence and some sexual references. Its target audience is high school students and adults.
Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United States

Killer Pizza: The Slice by Greg Taylor

Killer Pizza, the Slice by Greg Tayler includes the same characters we love from the first book plus some new people and monsters. Toby, Annabelle, Strobe, Harvey and Steve continue to protect the world from monsters. There is a new type of monster in this book that the pizza shop front knows nothing about. There is an almost invincible, invisible demon plus more "fun" as you turn the pages of this book . As Toby, Annabelle and Strobe protect Calanthe from her abandoned tribe and from the dangers of High School, this fun filled horror continues.
This book had me hanging on the edge for the entire thing as I was wondering what was going to happen next. Killer Pizza, the Slice was a huge page turner with its great description and suspense. I recommend this book to anyone over 8 yrs old because it is a little scary.
Reviewer Age:11 Uxbridge, MA USA

The Fallen: Raziel by Kristina Douglas

The fallen Raziel by Kristina Douglas is about a fallen angel named Raziel whose job is to bring the souls of the dead to their destination in the other world, whether it be heaven or hell. Raziel has been empty for a very long time and he doesn't care about anyone or anything except annoying the angel who condemned him and the other fallen, Uriel. When he is sent to take a writer, Allie Watson, to heaven he does so without thinking twice about it, but when he realizes he is taking her to hell he changes his mind and decides to take her home, but why? Throughout the story Allie and Raziel begin to fall for each other and they must face the consequences that follow. Raziel and the other angels on earth are not the only ones who fell from heaven; blood thirsty hideous creatures fell as well with only one task: to kill the fallen angels and their mates. Allie has to learn to survive in a world just minutes away from breaking out into a war between angels.

I absolutely loved this book, I couldn't put it down! I was anxious and excited to see what would happen on the next page, and there would be a surprise in each page! I can not wait to read the next book in this awesome series!

Some sexual content in book.
Reviewer Age:14  Uxbridge, MA USA

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Warlock by Michael Scott

Josh has chosen his path, Sophie hers. Josh goes to meet up with Machiavelli and Billy on Alcatraz with Dr. Dee and Virginia Dare at his side. Sophie prepares to meet Tsagaglalal to learn earth magic. Dr. Dee prepares to send a 7 headed dragon on to San Francisco . The Alchemyst is dying.  And the world is set to end unless the twins go back in time to Danu Talis, where their friends are waiting.

Opinion: The Warlock is an awesome book. Michael once again crafts a novel for this unusual chain of books, perfectly. The best thing I like about this series, is about how the characters can use their auras differently than any other books that I have read. I just cannot wait for the final one to complete this heart stopping series. I recommend this to anyone 11 and up.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Storm Before Atlanta by Karen Schwabach

It’s 1863, and ten-year- old Jeremy DeGroot is itching to join the Union Army -- so he runs away from Old Silas, the brutal man to whom he is indentured.  After reaching Washington D. C. by train, he is able to enlist in the 107th New York Volunteer Regiment as a drummer boy; a key player in the Army’s communication system.  One day, while refilling his canteen at a stream, Jeremy happens to meet Charlie Jackson, a Confederate soldier whom he befriends.  They meet again several times throughout the book.  Jeremy also meets Dulcie, an escaped slave from a Georgia plantation.  She is soon able to find work as an assistant to Dr. Flood, the camp surgeon.   Dulcie also realizes that now she is free and able to make her own decisions.  Together, Dulcie and Jeremy go through terrible trials, such as friends dying from wounds and Jeremy losing his drum in a battle.  Will they be able to survive the War Between the States?

I think the author did an excellent job at describing the situations in this book.  She also sometimes brings characters into the situations for only one or two chapters, which I think makes the situations more realistic.  She also incorporated a few fascinating facts into the book.  For example, Maryland almost seceded from the Union to join the Confederate States.  I enjoyed The Storm Before Atlanta very much and highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in America’s Civil War.  

Content:  1
Rating:  10
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Annandale, Virginia United States

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cheesie Mack by Steve Cotler

Ronald Mack, otherwise known as Cheesie to his friends, isn't a genius or anything, but he does remember all of the events that happened before, during and after his fifth-grade graduation, and he wrote it all down in his very own way-including drawings, lists, and lots of made-up words. But Cheesie doesn't just talk about his graduation ceremony/party-he also talks about his everlasting battle with his older sister June, his best friend Georgie's discovery of a strange old coin that could change their summer, and a mouse plot gone wrong. Will Cheesie and Georgie get to the bottom of the coin mystery? Will they get in trouble for their mouse plot? Who will win the sibling battle? Will the coin change Cheesie and Georgie's summer forever? You'll have to read for yourself and find out.
I thought this book was great! I could totally picture the characters and the settings (and not just because of the pictures, although they did help). I could probably picture Cheesie as a real person because he goes through some of the same things a normal kid would go through. An example of that is a seemingly-constant battle with an older sibling, which is present in the book. The book was told in first-person, so that made it all the more realistic to me, because I almost always write in first-person. The author included just the right amount of detail at all times throughout the book. I would totally recommend this book to others, especially if you are a "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series fan, because it is a good and humorous read

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hopkins, Michigan USA

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thistle Down by Irene Radford

For generations, the children of Skene Falls, Oregon have befriended the Pixies of the Ten Acre Woods. Eventually the kids grow up and lose their beliefs in the Pixies. However, Dusty Carrick and her brother Dick are the rare exception.  When Dusty and Dick's childhood friend Thistle Down appears in a human body, they have no choice but to believe her when she says she is exiled amongst the Pixies. With Thistle comes yet another problem. The antagonists of the novel want to tear down the Ten Acre Forest, which would forever alter the lives of the Pixies, children, and the residents of Skene Falls. It's up to Dusty and her friends to save the forest and help Thistle Down.

I really enjoyed Thistle Down. It had an extremely intriguing plot and made me continue turning pages right from the beginning. Irene Radford did a really nice job of making sure we knew who was telling the story.  Even with about five different characters sharing the spotlight, it was extremely organized. I would recommend this book if you're into fantasy and the present day!

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hermantown, MN USA

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

When Ginny Blackstone lost the last little blue envelope in Greece, along with the twelve other letters, she accepted that she would never find out what her aunt had to tell her in that last letter. But when someone calls to say that he found her backpack with all the letters, Ginny finds herself heading to England again for another adventure. The boy who found the letter, Oliver, wants to help Ginny, but only if he is allowed to accompany her and take away half the profit from one of Aunt Peg's paintings. Ginny reluctantly agrees and she finds herself traveling Europe with not just Oliver, but her old friend Keith and his new girlfriend Ellis. If this trip is like last summer, Ginny is in for the treat of a lifetime.
I was really excited to read The Last Little Blue Envelope because it is the newly released sequel to one of my favorite books, Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes. In the first book, Ginny loses the last envelope, and accepts the fact that she might never know what her aunt had to say. But luckily for us, The Last Little Blue Envelope provides some closure with Ginny receiving the last letter in a rather unorthodox manner. Oliver, the boy who found the letter, seems very manipulative, because he will only give Ginny the letter if she allows him to take away half the profits from one of Aunt Peg's paintings. As the story progresses, we learn more about Oliver and start to like him more. Old favorites like Richard, Ginny's uncle, and Keith, Ginny's sort-of boyfriend, make a reappearance in this latest installment. The Last Little Blue Envelope was full of humor, adventure, and even some romance and is the perfect sequel to a great book.

Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, PA United States

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Subway Girl by P. J. Converse

Simon is a teenage boy struggling to complete school in Hong Kong. On top of English class and pressure from his parents, Simon may not be graduating this year. But Simon's luck begins to change when he sees the most beautiful girl he has ever seen on the subway. He finally gets up the nerve to speak to her and learns her
personality is just as beautiful as her appearance. But is Subway Girl what Simon thinks? Or is she living a double

At first I was skeptical of this book. I assumed it would be like every teen romance novel - cheesy and
fictional. But as I read on and opened my mind, I found this book was different from all the others. Simon's urge to be with the mysterious Subway Girl could cost him everything - yet he risks it all to be with her. This book is perfect for the girly-girl or sensitive guy!

Adult Themes

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Panama City, Florida USA

Monday, June 06, 2011

Diary of a Bad Boy by Traci Hall

Josh Grady was a bad kid. He was abused and hurt physically and emotionally by his father and it hardened him into a troubled person. He took one big step in the wrong direction and the result put his best friend in a coma. Instead of being sent to jail, Josh is given a second chance and he goes to Shining Star Boy's Ranch to straighten out his life. For a while, Josh hated it. He hated all the rules, the teachers and counselors, and most of all he hated how kind everyone was to him because it reminded him of what he didn't have. Even though he thinks his whole life has been messed up, Josh finds that the hardest thing he has to do is find forgiveness for himself and others.

Josh was a bad kid. He made so many mistakes in his life and what he really needed was to find forgiveness for himself and for others. When I first picked up The Diary of a Bad Boy, I didn't like it and I thought I would be bored with it. Then I got into it, and I found myself being mad, sad, happy and confused along with Josh. I felt his hurt and anger and then I felt his forgiveness. I loved how much he turned around his life. I felt like I was reading about a real person's struggles in life and I felt proud of him when he made a good decision. After I began reading it, I couldn't put it down! My one complaint is the excessive cursing and some grammatical errors that I found. Aside from that, Traci Hall did a great job with the message for forgiveness she was trying to get across.

Content: 4
Rating: 8
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tatamy, PA USA

Badd by Tim Tharp

Ceejay has always grown up in the shadow of her rebellious yet charming older brother, Bobby. She doesn' t mind, though. Ceejay and Bobby have always been able to understand each other better than anyone else. So when Bobby is sent to fight in the war in Iraq, Ceejay is devastated, and can't wait until he comes home. But when he does, it' s not quite how Ceejay had imagined. Bobby has changed, and no one, not even Ceejay, understands him anymore. First, he's avoiding his family, then he 's consorting and even befriending Ceejay's enemy, Captain Crazy? Something just isn't right and Ceejay takes it upon herself to find out what it is. As Ceejay investigates, she will come to the realization that not everyone is how they seemed. She will gain unexpected friends, and lose a few on the way. This is a coming-of-age story, in which Ceejay will discover things she 's never known about people, and change her whole perspective on life.

Badd was an interesting book. Its unusual plot helped it to maintain the element of surprise and keep the reader on their toes. The main character, Ceejay, was spunky and original: a tough girl with a twist. She acted like a boy, like Bobby, like nothing could faze her, but there were a lot of mixed emotions in her. She had a hard shell on the outside, but she was confused inside. These feelings were revealed through the first person dialogue,
which fit well with the story.

The rest of the characters were easily recognizable with their lines ; they all had specific personalities that complimented each other. The uses of contrasting characters (catalysts) aided the plotline and added some exciting scenes. The language fit the first person dialogue, but there were many cases of foul language. It also included some sexual innuendos, as well as drug use and references. This book was an interesting book that got me thinking. It included a lot of tough subjects, like the war and what it can do to people, teen drinking and pregnancy, drugs, and most of all, changes, for better and for worse. I would recommend it for anyone who wants a page turner and doesn't mind the references and language.

foul language, drug use, sexual reference


Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, OR United States

Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Joey Crouch was a sheltered kid, if one can be sheltered in Chicago. He is very attached to his mother and fears for her life daily. His life gets flipped upside down when she is hit by a bus and Joey is sent to live with the father he has never even heard of. Ken Harnett doesn't know what to do with his new son and Joey has to attend a new school, Bloughton High. But school isn't any better, Joey is bullied, used as a specimen in biology and still gets straight A's. Determined to find out the source of Harnett's horrible smell and local nickname "The Garbageman," Joey climbs in the back of his truck with a camera and follows Harnett to a job. Then it is revealed that Ken Harnett is a grave robber. Eager to make something of himself in a place where everyone wishes he wasn't there, Joey and his father come to an understanding and Joey starts learning the family business.

Rotters is a very dark novel but it doesn't end as darkly as I thought it would at the beginning. It seems well researched and smart. The characters are surprising but relatable; everyone has faced the type of rejection Joey has. The book's major overarching themes are family and mortality. It's a new view of the outsider storyline without the typical ending. Rotters is an unusual and absorbing coming of age story that anyone (who can stand to be grossed out a bit) would enjoy.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Sterling Heights, MI United States

Gossip From The Girl's Room by Rose Cooper

I recently read the book Gossip from the Girl s
Room by Rose Cooper. This book follows the life of 6th
grader Sofia Becker and her trying to fit in the popular
crowd at school. In order to gain popularity points, Sofia
decides to start an anonymous blog on her school s website
with all the latest gossip. However, keeping the blog up
is not as easy as it seems until Sofia realizes all the
juiciest gossip can be overheard in the girl s bathroom.
Soon, she has a very popular blog on her hands. But how
much gossip is too much?
I found the book Gossip from the Girl s Room by Rose Cooper to be very interesting and entertaining. I found striking similarities to the book
series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and I found it to be very
entertaining for teenage girls who need a laugh at their
own life. Cooper was right on the spot with an all-out
hilarious book. I thought the book was very down-to-earth.
This book has the potential to become the next best-
seller. I think the ending left me hanging, and I cannot
wait for the sequel to come out. I highly recommend this
book, and you will definitely enjoy it as well.
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Braintree, Massachusetts United States of America

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sorrowheart. . . . This is an eBook by Kendra Thomas

Brenia Sorrowheart is going on her first adventure! Whoa! Slow down! From a mere stable girl, to the lady in waiting, to the Queen,(not to mention her best friend), and now this! All in what, a few weeks? Amazing as it all seems, Bree has to focus. She must find the lost key to a box that's been locked for centuries- And we're not talking about some key hidden under a bed; we're talking about a key guarded by the darkest secrets of the deep. But is the key really an object she's looking for, or a lost part of her?

This book was... captivating!!! It was the perfect balance of action and fitting together puzzle pieces. After a chapter of fitting things together, you jumped right back into the action somewhere else. There was always action somewhere else. I have to admit, the book was a little difficult to pick up, having not read the first book. (There is a first book, right? It's not just me?!) Overall it was a great plot, complete with characters with lots of depth, including one coping with the loss of a best friend. I can't wait for the next book!!!! :) (There is a next book, right?!!!)

Reviewer Age:11

Reviewer City, State and Country: Rockwell City, IA USA

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

There is a necrovirus that is taking over the people and turning them mad. Lovecraft is set in a future New England. It is run by the machine and controlled by the Proctors. Aiofe Grayson is an orphan. She never knew her father and both her mother and brother have gone mad. Aiofe' s family is a little different, however. Their blood carries a strain of the necrovirus that remains dormant until their sixteenth birthday. When Aiofe receives a note asking for help from her brother, Conrad, a few weeks before her sixteenth birthday, one of the only times he' s contacted her since he went mad and tried to kill her on his birthday, she decides that she has nothing to lose. She sets off with her friend, Cal, and their guide, Dean, on a dangerous adventure, outside the city walls, to save Conrad. Or are they off to destroy Lovecraft and the world as they know it?

This book was amazing. Kittredge creates a world that is a merge of science, magic, and intrigue. The characters are complex and keep a reader interested in knowing more. Once I began this book, I could not put it down. A reader never knows where it is going to go next in plot, or character relations. Kittredge gives the reader just enough information to think that the understand yet they are totally uninformed and it keeps you hooked because you always need to read more. I would have been happy if it went on for another 500 pages!

Reviewer Age:18

Reviewer City, State and Country: Leverett, MA USA

Rating: 10

Content Rating: 1

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Be Healthy! It's a Girl Thing!

Be Healthy! It's A Girl Thing: Food, Fitness and Feeling
Great by Mavis Jukes and Lilian Cheung is a very
informational book teaching you about everything you need
to know to about becoming a healthier person. It is a
nonfiction book and topics range from getting enough
exercise to how much water to drink a day to how to
nutrition labels. It is the perfect book for preteens and
teens because the writing is easy to understand. You may
think you know everything about how to be healthy, but this
book provides much more that most people forget about
including in a healthy lifestyle such as: the Percent Daily
Value, friendships and how to ignore common stereotypes.
This book has everything you need to know about creating a
healthier lifestyle for yourself!

I thought that, Be
Healthy! It's a Girl Thing: Food, Fitness and Feeling Great
by Mavis Jukes and Lilian Cheung, is a bit dry. Some parts
give interesting information but overall it is difficult to
read continuously because I would find my mind daydreaming
often. The subjects are mostly interesting but occasionally
there is a very dull subject that I would rather skip over.
Also, the subjects are very brief and I think some could be
expanded. A couple topics only gave a sentence or two about
it. If the authors were to go back and revise the book, I
would recommend them to add a bit more about some of the
topics. The book is very encouraging which is helpful in
the beginning but gets a bit annoying after reading it for
a while. In addition, there is something called the Cactus
Plan on page 29 which, to this day, I still cannot figure
out how it works. It is a diagram about how to limit foods,
however, it is incredibly difficult to figure out how it
works. The authors do not make it clear how to read the
diagram or even how to read it. However, I do like some
things about Be Healthy! It's a Girl Thing: Food, Fitness
and Feeling Great as well. For example, I like how there is
some background information at the beginning of the book
like what the book's purpose is and a brief description on
what a growth spurt is. That makes it easier to ease into
the book and to help know what you are about to read. It
also makes you a little more excited to begin reading it. I
think that this book is child friendly because it feels
like a nice teacher or adult that you like is talking to
you. I also think that the vocabulary is good for the
recommended age of 10 and up. In conclusion, I learned
several things after reading this book that encourage me to
become a healthier and more active person!

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Milwaukee, Wisconsin United States

Friday, June 03, 2011

Flesh and Blood So Cheap by Albert Marrin

The year: 1911, the month: March. All seemed normal to the
workers at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, but, almost
out of nowhere, a blazing fire devoured the building,
showing no mercy. But what happened before the fire? What
is the Triangle Shirtwaist factory? This is the story of
the labor workers put in to this facility, the pain
endured as men and women worked 15 hour shifts, and the
tragic events that occurred on March 25, 1911.

As many would tell you, I am not a fan of history. Yet, there is
something hidden inside the covers of "Flesh and Blood So
Cheap" that creates excitement matched only by the fear
felt for the many lives lost in the Triangle Fire. A mix
between straight historic fact and authentic details of
life in the early 1900's, this book is sure to please even
the unsure. I found myself obsessed with this book from
the first chapter. "Flesh and Blood So Cheap" is on its
way to the best-seller list.

About a rather sad topic.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Panama City, Florida United States

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

Long ago the planet Lorien went into hibernation. 9 children destined to become the most powerful elders seen by Lorien and their Cepan (protectors, trainers, ect.) came to Earth after a year-long flight through space. Now they are hunted by the Mogadorians. If they are to bring thier planet back to life, they MUST find each other, unite, and win the war against the Mogadorians. Numbers 1 through 3 have already died. 4,6,7,9 and 10 have been found. But just as things seem to be going well, the Mogadorians bring an even more dangerous enemy into play.

This had an interesting plot, which was made even better from having two characters with alternating chapters, (much like the Seekers series, if you've read those.) Although it gets ever so slightly confusing having the alternating chapters, it adds a lot to the story. You should be able to follow the action because you’ll be reading about different groups of characters. The book was very exciting and had a great storyline. It ended with a cliff-hanger that seemed VERY far from the end of the story, which makes me think there is a sequel coming out.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Santa Fe, TX USA

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Queen Bee of Bridgeton

All Sonya and her sister Sasha have ever wanted is to get out of their terrible neighborhood, so when a chance to go to school at the upscale Bridgeport Academy is offered to them, both girls eagerly take the opportunity. At first, Sonya confines herself to her passion for dancing and doesn’t quite fit in at her new school, while her popular older sister easily molds to the competitive atmosphere. However, Sonya’s differences from the rest of the school gain her a basketball star boyfriend, and also push her into the spotlight when she dares to challenge the queen bees of her high school. Sonya’s bravery earns her both popularity and hatred, and she finds her character tested as she learns things about herself and those close to her that she was never aware of before.

The Queen Bee of Bridgeton does its best to be an entertaining story with real-life characters but falls flat due to the poor writing style and cheesy dialogue. The narrator, Sonya, has a fresh personality, but makes dim-witted decisions and is occasionally blind to the events going on around her. I did enjoy the plot twist at the end of the book, but the whole storyline of challenging the norm seemed a little overdone. Overall, the book was entertaining, but wallowing through the scripted dialogue and one-dimensional characters was not. I would recommend this book for any girl looking for a light, romantic read, but I would warn anyone looking for more substance to pass this book up.

adult content, such as alcohol use and language
Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Bayside, WI USA

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Desperate Measures by Laura Summers

Vicky is a girl living in a foster home after her mother died and her father "went away". She has to look after her mentally-disabled twin sister Rihanna and her little brother who's always ready for a fight. She 's doing a good job of it--defending her sister from the stereotypical mean girl, and stopping her brother from punching everyone he meets--when she' s told that the couple they're with can't keep them anymore and they have to split up. So they decide to runway.

Laura Summers gives Rihanna a unique point of view, one that is both innocent and with deep insight. She writes about how these three siblings love and care for each other and how they fight and scream at one another. I really enjoyed reading about the relationships between the characters. All in all this was a great book.

I would say this book is for all ages, but there is some talk about dying and what that means.

Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Juda, WI, USA

Solstice (eBook) by P.J. Hoover

For 18 years, the world had been in a Global Heating Crisis, a summer that never ends. For Piper, it has been going on her entire life. She has never seen a snowball or the leaves turn in autumn. With her over protective mother and a crazy, wild, friend she decides to take some risks in her life. Dating behind her mother’s back is one of those risks. Soon, she is thrown into another world where Greek gods reside and she may be the one to change the world. p>This book was great. At first I thought it jumped into the main part of the story too fast. Later I realized this was needed to get everything in. I loved how the gods seemed like real people and how relatable Piper was. The setting of a world in global warming was perfectly described. I recommend this book to people who liked the Mortal Instruments series, the Lightning Thief, the Red Pyramid, and the Lost Hero.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Northglenn, CO United States

Everything I Was by Corinne Demas

Everything I Was is about a thirteen year-old girl named Irene. She has a perfect life. Until one day, her dad loses his job. Then, her world is turned upside-down when her parents decide to move out to her grandpa's farm for the summer, just so they can get back on their feet. At first, Irene hates it in the country. Then, when she realizes how appreciate the little things in life, like friends, family, and hobbies, she really begins to love it there. But at the end of the summer, her parents want to move back to the city. Will Irene go back to everything she was, or will she stay with her new, care-free life?

This book really showed me that kids can really help parents make decisions in their life. But, it shows me that bad things in life can sometimes turn into good things, depending on what you choose to make out of it. I was really happy with the ending because Irene had gone through some hard times and she finally had something good happen to her. Even though life sometimes doesn't give you happy endings, it's good to know that they still exist. I thought this book would be for ages 12 and up because having a parent out of work is becoming more and more common, and kids need to learn how to deal with that type of situation.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leawood, Kansas United States of America

The Spirit of a Poem by Aazam Yaqoob

The Spirit of a Poem is a small book with a collection of poems. There are also pictures by Aazam Yaqoob. The poems speak of weather, thoughts, ideas, and islands. Fruit was even an inspiration for the author. The poems are short and easy to read.

The mood of this book is simply dull. My imagination was barely even sparked by the use of plain font and common adjectives. The overall structure of the book was rather plain and boring. It seemed almost as if anyone could have written these poems as there was no distinct voice from the author. With this book, it would seem that Yaqoob didn't have a set purpose in mind besides putting a few of his poems into book form. The writing is nothing special, almost like a cold cup of coffee. No warmth or flavor to be found. The strength would be that Yaqoob was willing to put his creations out there into the world.

The book contains multiple grammatical and formatting mistakes, and I wonder how they could have escaped editing. The flaws caused me to become distracted and put off by the book. In his poem, "Rain and the Universe's Way of Life," there was a glaring mistake of a homophone. The line was, "I here drip, drip," I feel he must have meant, "I hear drip, drip." Yaqoob wrote three lined Japanese haikus, which should have contained five syllables on the first line, seven on the second and five on the third. None of them had the correct amount of syllables.

Finally, while poems don't necessarily have to rhyme, it is commonly found and an appreciated break from the non-rhyming variety. I don't believe any of Yaqoob's poems rhymed, save for a "question" and "section" pair. I was disappointed that it didn't have any interesting rhymes to experience. Granted, this book was self-published, but I feel that it could use a fair amount of editing and constructive criticism before I would recommend anyone to read this book.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Doylestown, Pennsylvania USA

Lila and Ecco's Do-it-yourself Comics Club by Willow Dawson

The book,Lila and Ecco's: Do-It-Yourself comics club, is mainly about two kids,who are comic fanatics, go to a comic convention. After losing her sister,Lila and Ecco stumble upon a Q and A session that was all about how to make,design,and create a comic book. When Lila and Ecco return from the convention they start to make their own comic by following step-by-step procedures. Lila's comic was about cooking,while Ecco's was about a crime-fighting superhero. So what happens next, find out in Lila and Ecco's: Do-It-Yourself comics club.

In my opinion, as an actual book it wasn't very interesting,but as a how-to book, it's awesome. I don't like this book as an actual book because it didn't grab my attention. Plus, at times it was very confusing because it has the essence of a storybook, but it wasn't impressive. But I love it as a how-to book because most of the steps on how to make a comic book where really easy to follow. So if you can keep up with the story line and to how-to parts then by all means READ THIS BOOK, if not, I would only recomend this if you wanted to know how to make a comic book. I would rate this book as a 5 or 6.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, TX America

Dream Smashers by Angela Carlie

Dream Smashers is a book about hope. Autumn Winters lives in the town of Cultus, Washington. Cultus is known for its great access to methamphetamine, which is also why Autumn lives with her grandmother. Autumn was taken away from her mother when she was a baby because of her mother's meth addiction and alcoholism. Autumn hopes for her mom to just leave her alone so she can start a new, fresh, freer life. Then Evan, a blind date, enters her life. Evan is a Godsend, literally; he's a church-going-volunteering-marathon-running-saint. Evan starts to change the way Autumn thinks. And with each encounter Autumn's life changes, more and more.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought the characters were very developed and had great stories to tell. I think that the author did a great job describing the addiction of the entire town. I also thought that the plot of this book was great and always kept me on the edge of my seat and reading late into the night. I am definitely going to recommend this book to many of my friends.

Intense drug and alcohol use. Also much explicit language.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hopkins, Michigan USA

Grounded by Kate Klise

The book Grounded by: Kate Klise is a wonderful novel about a girl named Daralyn. After a horrible plane crash that kills her father, brother, and sister she gets a bunch of dolls and everyone calls her Dolly. When a mysterious man comes to town and her Aunt Josie falls in love with him Daralyn begins her investigation. After almost getting tricked by the man everything clicks into place and Daralyn discovers this mans secret. Read this marvelous novel to reveal the mans secret and how everyone reacts to it!

The book Grounded by: Kate Klise is a wonderful novel. I think she did a great job on this book. I love Daralyn and how adventurous she is, I am like her in many ways. I think some of the possible maybe not as noticeable themes would be what shows on the outside isn't always what is within, and if you get to know the person you don't like you might find something inside them that you admire. This is a marvelous novel that I have already and will continue to tell my friends about and suggest they read it.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, Oregon U.S.A

The Amanda Project by Amanda Valentino

Three chairs sat in front of the principal's office and as Callie walked in, she quickly filled the third one, joining classmates Hal and Nia. Three different people from three different worlds, yet one person brought them here, together: Amanda Valentino. After painting the principal's car with strange designs and symbols, Amanda, who was secretly friends with all three students, left a symbol on each of their lockers before disappearing. Always talking cryptically, she had a secret that each one of them knew a part of. Now that she's missing, the three students must put together all that she has ever told them in order to find her before something bad happens.

Unsure of where to begin, Callie, Hal and Nia decide to tell each other all of the information they know about Amanda. They soon realize that she told them each a different story about where she lives and where she comes from. With all of this jumbled information, they have no choice to investigate it all. At every place they stop, they find symbols spraypainted on the wall, indicating that Amanda was there. Now it's just a matter of putting together all the clues before it's too late!

A mysterious story of friendship and lies, Amanda Valentino and Melissa Kantor's novel "The Amanda Project" is hard to put down. Thrown into this world without context, it is up to you to put together everything and make sense of what Amanda's plan is. It feels as if you are a part of their world working on the mystery with them, rather than watching from the outside.

Valentino and Kantor understand the dynamics of high school and the ups and downs of being a student which makes it easy to sympathize with Callie, Hal and Nia. It's easy to relate to their struggles with teachers and school work, and their budding friendship as they search for Amanda is something that everybody experiences.

"The Amanda Project" kept me on the edge of my seat till the end. Although it is frustrating to get clues to Amanda's disappearance without being able to put them all together, that is what makes the book interesting. Valentino and Kantor do a great job of balancing mystery and relatability, and with the cliff-hanger ending, I can't wait to read the next book in the series!

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Champaign, Illinois USA

Baby Grape and Southern Exposure by Thom Rogers

The third book in the Baby Grape series, Baby Grape's Southren Exposure, follows Toby, Jaynee and their forever growing group of tag-alongs as they head south to find Toby's mother and sisters. No journey is simple, however, as they encounter runaway slaves, stolen money, and abandoned children. Everywhere they turn, there are people to be helped, goods to be transported up and down the rivers, and someone coming at them with a gun. With all of the adventures going on, Toby still has to take care of his family, look out for his employees, and make sure everything runs smoothly on his steamboat. Toby has taken on a lot of responsibility, and his leadership abilities show as he and his friends prove once again that they have what it takes to survive.

Baby Grape's Southern Exposure had a much different feel to it then the first two books. The writing style is the same, with lots of dialogue, description and surprises, but the characters are, at times, hardly recognizable. In the beginning of the series, Toby was younger. He had hardly been anywhere or had any adventures up until that point, and was learning what survival meant. In this book, he is much more authoritative. On his boat, he is in charge and expects everyone to do exactly as he says. I felt that his transformation was realistic, but I found myself not liking this Toby as much as I had when he valued other's opinions and had a more even temper. I did like that, although there are many different adventures in many different settings as in the other books, they did not skip around quite as much and gave me time to really concentrate on the goals of the characters. Baby Grape's Southren Exposure had less romance and drama involved than usual, but it did have feel-good ending. It was my favorite Baby Grape book, and I would recommend it to those who read the first two books, like historical fiction, and are ready for a whole new bunch of adventures.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: , Pennsylvania USA