Last of the Sandwalkers surprised me as a graphic novel. I’m not overly fond of bugs, but this story really brought them into the light. Lucy is a sciLast of the Sandwalkers surprised me as a graphic novel. I’m not overly fond of bugs, but this story really brought them into the light. Lucy is a scientist at heart and sets off on journey to find if there are more beetles in the world around them. Her community is not fond of scientists though and she finds that the overseer of their journey tries to sabotage them from finding their way home, while stealing their discovery of large bones in the sand. They end up on their own and must find their way back. Luckily, the journal their overseer stole wasn’t Lucy’s but a phony, leaving him only with the bones to display.
I loved that this community took on a stance very much like one we see now. The separation of science from religion. Coming across others, Lucy finds that her community has let go of beetles they found that didn’t think their way, telling stories they didn’t like. This is similar to her own scientific drive and she finds a kindred spirit in the abandoned beetle she finds in the desert. There are dangers out there and she must help her friends and family travel safely home. She tries to use her inventions, but sometime they backfire and she seems a bit caught up in the devices at times as to those around her.
I found myself rather intrigued by the story, as Lucy struggles and prevails over the terrain and gets the assistance of others on her journey. She is a spirited heroine and one I admire as she is not perfect but always tries her best. I almost wish it was a bit shorter or simple because I think it’s a story my students would enjoy but it’s probably over the heads of most of my students. I’m considering putting it in my school library and seeing what happens.
A wonderful graphic novel about being ones self and finding the truth about the world and ones self....more
All Fall Down was a trip and a half. No really, this book will mess with your mind… in a good way. I didn’t quite catch on to the huge twist until itAll Fall Down was a trip and a half. No really, this book will mess with your mind… in a good way. I didn’t quite catch on to the huge twist until it was pretty much revealed. So good… anyways let’s backtrack. Grace is kinda messed up. She sees and hears her dead mother sometimes and is emotionally recovering from seeing her mother murdered 3 years ago. Now she is back at the place where it happened – Embassy Row in Adria. Her grandfather is an Ambassador for the United States and she moves into the embassy with him, only to find herself in her mother’s room. Probably not the best idea to throw your somewhat messed up granddaughter into the room of her dead mother… but I can’t tell these characters what is or is not right.
Alexei is of central interest as he seems to be keeping an eye on Grace, because her brother is not there to, and although things are strained between the US and Russia, keeps popping up to help. He’s very good looking and I’m always surprised in Carter’s books that the romance takes a backseat to everything that is going on. Alexei becomes a bit of the background, popping up only when she’s in severe crisis mode it seems but she pushes him hard away from her.
The other more friendly, not as romantic male character is Noah, who basically introduces himself to Grace as her new best friend… in the middle of the night… and then brings her to a party where she jumps off into the water. Probably not the best start to making new friends. She’s trying to save the world from going to War though… during the party a scarf of a somewhat mean girl named Lila floats over into Iran and that wouldn’t be a problem, the area is deserted, but the scarf is of an Israeli flag… which could insight a war. So, she mindlessly takes action.
Grace is quite out of control and trying to remain in control at the same time. She’s convinced that she needs to find the murderer of her mother and cannot be persuaded otherwise. Noah and Megan believe Grace and help her hunt down who she thinks killed her mother, all while trying to make sure to keep the peace. I just fell right into the story and could not stop reading. There’s this dichotomy of believing and not believing throughout this book that it really messes with your head.
An amazing start to a new series that I think will thrill readers. Definitely one to pick up and read....more
The final installment of the series really was packed with action and intrigue. Sara Jane is finally getting closer to finding her family and saving tThe final installment of the series really was packed with action and intrigue. Sara Jane is finally getting closer to finding her family and saving them. It may just take 4 million in gold and an untimely death. This is one of my favorite action series. I love the mystery and intrigue. It makes me want to venture into Chicago to find some of these mythical Capone doors.
If you haven't checked out this series yet, you ought to!...more
Countdown Zero is the second book in Chris Rylander’s Codename Conspiracy series. Carson Fender is a prankster, but his life changed drastically in thCountdown Zero is the second book in Chris Rylander’s Codename Conspiracy series. Carson Fender is a prankster, but his life changed drastically in the last book when he was asked to become an agent for The Agency. This secret organization has a base right beneath his school and is calling on him again to save the world. When one of the agents, Agent Nineteen, he worked with in the last book is in danger, they send Carson in to find him and save the world from a deadly virus getting out. Unfortunately, things don’t go as smoothly and Carson finds himself double crossed by a fellow student.
I love these books on so many different levels… there’s an insane amount of action and spy tactics mixed in with humorous moments. I love how over the top the characters can be sometimes and how Carson adapts to the different situations. Within the book, there’s a deeper message talking about honesty and the reasons behind which we lie to those we care about. I found this intriguing and wonder if this will keep carrying over into the next book.
I really find Carson as a likeable character. He seems to be loyal and carries his guilt about lying to his friends really close, but knowing that he cannot reveal unless the circumstances are dire. Dillon is by far my favorite of his friends, being a conspiracy nut and adds the most hilarity to the book. Danielle is smart and quick to pick up on what is going on and also seems to keep Carson a bit grounded.
For a longer book, I felt like the plot moved quickly with enough spy action and intrigue to keep me reading until the very last page. Rylander does a great job of balancing character development with plot points.
One of my favorite new spy series for kids, check out any of Rylander’s books and you won’t be disappointed....more
Wild River is a thrilling book about a pair of brothers, Ryan and Tanner, who set out on a camping trip, but an accident happens, leaving the older brWild River is a thrilling book about a pair of brothers, Ryan and Tanner, who set out on a camping trip, but an accident happens, leaving the older brother Tanner unconscious. It is up to Ryan to seek help, but he doesn’t know much about where he is or really about anything when it comes to nature. He must step up or possible lose his brother. A short chapter book, this book really captures your attention and brings a regular kid to becoming a hero. I love stories like this and I think they inspire young people to be better people.
A great short chapter book that is both thrilling and has a great message....more
Repairman Jack is one of my husband’s favorite series. I’ve been meaning to start reading them for a long time and now I know why he loves them. FullRepairman Jack is one of my husband’s favorite series. I’ve been meaning to start reading them for a long time and now I know why he loves them. Full of action, mystery and paranormal elements, I fell in love with Jack’s world. Jack lives under the radar and is a “repairman” of a multitude of problems. His love life has fallen a bit since his ex-girlfriend found out what he actually does for a living. However, Gia calls him because her Aunt-in-Law is missing and she needs his help. Her daughter Vicky loves Jack and I loved the scenes between the sweet 9 year old and Jack.
Verdict: The overlying plot involves more supernatural elements as Jack finds out what is really happening. I love the twists and turns and Jack’s overall character. I will definitely be reading on to find out what happens to him next. ...more
The Book of Storms is the tale of a boy named Danny who wakes up one day to his parents having disappeared. They frequently run off into the night toThe Book of Storms is the tale of a boy named Danny who wakes up one day to his parents having disappeared. They frequently run off into the night to chase storms because his would-be older sister Emma was killed in one a long time ago. But, his parents are always back by morning. What he discovers outside is even more frightening and he finds a stick that allows him to talk to animals, plants and other living things around him.
Searching the house, he finds a notebook that details all of his parents forays into storms and leads him to his next clue. There was a man they met that allegedly had a “Book of Storms”. Going off in search of him, Danny finds that there is more dangerous and mystery than just his parents disappearing. An evil being named Sammael, who cares for nothing but his dog (and even that is brutal at times) is after Danny for holding power that he should not have. The same being who is behind Danny’s parents’ disappearance.
I quite enjoyed watching Danny grow into a character who loathed adventure and rather be attending school, into more of an adventure-lover. I loved that the author switched viewpoints to show what Sammael was up to while Danny continued on his journey. It was unique in that it’s something I never have seen explored much, controlling storms and delving deeper into the secrets they hold.
The author does a great job of twisting humor in with the action and adventure feel of the novel. I think that’s important in children’s books. I enjoyed the setting, the characters and the plot.
A somewhat different adventure/fantasy novel that will make you question the next storm that rolls into town....more
Coming directly from having read Dualed in audiobook format, I had to realign my brain to read Divided in book format. Thinking about the first book,Coming directly from having read Dualed in audiobook format, I had to realign my brain to read Divided in book format. Thinking about the first book, I felt there was no a lot of background information and was hoping that Divided would fill in the gaps of the first book. I felt like there was some questions answered, but I’m not fully satisfied with the brief glimpse into the history of how the Board was formed, what the different levels mean and some of the history as well as more information on why the program of killing your clone was first brought on.
If you really loved Dualed, you will like Divided. It has the same type of premise. West goes off on her own to fulfill an assignment given to her by the Board, only she finds out the hard way that she no longer can kill, but she’s determined a back up plan after her boyfriend Chord shares with her something he found while on patrol. The promise of not having to put any of her future children through this game of killing your other self has her committed to the task, but she finds a surprise when she meets her last target.
I don’t want to reveal too much for those who haven’t read either books, so I’ll stop there. What I like about the story is that West’s relationship with Chord feels good to me as a reader. She still is dealing with some post trauma from the first book and I like that they address that by her visiting a counselor to talk about her nightmare and problems. Chord has accepted West for who she is and she knows that he will be there for her. I like the action, the hunt and the complications that this sequel has to offer.
On the flip side, I still wish there was more. I feel so confined in the story to West’s personal problems and I want to know so much more about the background of the world she lives in that I don’t feel satisfied. I cannot think of this story as dystopian because it’s not her against the government. When it’s the Board that asks her to kill, it is really to satisfy one man’s desires and wants. West is not completely going against the system and I sort of wanted her to be more of a rebel, or at least want to escape the world she lives in.
Lots of great action but lacking some dystopian elements that would have taken the book further....more
Sarah’s dad has just remarried and thinks it is a great idea to take all of the kids on their honeymoon with them. She’s not excited about the prospecSarah’s dad has just remarried and thinks it is a great idea to take all of the kids on their honeymoon with them. She’s not excited about the prospect of getting to know her new family which includes a stepmom and two stepbrothers. The first couple chapters is dedicated to the packing and whining that you can expect out of an almost teenage girl. It only gets worse when they discover their luxury cruise is really a small boat and even worse, the weather is horrible, leaving them stranded on an island.
The island is where things start to get interesting. There are creatures that seem abnormal and it seems to get worse the longer they stay there. I liked how Sarah started to shape up a bit during the novel. Obviously life changes can take a while to adjust to and if they survive the island, maybe Sarah will learn to appreciate her new family. I liked the adventure and felt it moved quickly once they set out on the boat. Probably my biggest complaint is that it ends so quickly and I want to find out what happens next!
A novel about confronting change and survival, Shipwreck Island is a series to look out for. ...more
The Ninja Librarians is a book I had to pick up out of pure curiosity, being a librarian myself, I wanted to see what adventures it held for me as a rThe Ninja Librarians is a book I had to pick up out of pure curiosity, being a librarian myself, I wanted to see what adventures it held for me as a reader. Dorrie is the main character, a girl who loves to take part in fake swordplay but finds that all this training will not help her in the real world. When a friend’s mongoose gets loose, Dorrie finds herself and her brother Marcus chasing it wildly through the library and into a new section they have never been. Before they know it, they are pulled into another world, one of Lybrarians.
What they find is Petrarch’s Library, a place where Lybrarians are trained and then sent out into their different time periods to collect important documents that may have been lost. With such figures as Socrates and Cyrano de Bergerac as characters, it makes for an engaging read. The siblings are suspected to be part of a different organization that is looking to destroy the Library’s work and turn history for their own gain, which makes their time at Petrarch’s Library a bit trying at first as no one is sure they are telling the truth about how they got there.
I love the elements of this book, the actual Petrarch’s library, the different historical characters, and especially the times when they slip into another time period. I love the idea of ninja librarians and keyhands and being able to stride into different time periods. Dorrie was a great character in that she knew she didn’t have certain skills, but strode to acquire them throughout the novel. I love how the book puts into perspective how trivial some of Dorrie’s concerns were at the beginning of the book as opposed to the end, which only furthers her development as a character.
I found The Accidental Keyhand to be a great start to the Ninja Librarians series and I cannot wait for the next volume, as this one leaves off on a bit of a cliffhanger. I’m looking forward to seeing where and when Dorrie and Marcus will have to go on their next adventure....more
Codename Zero starts off with a bang as Carson Fender is pulling off the biggest prank in the history of his middle school. Although he should be enj Codename Zero starts off with a bang as Carson Fender is pulling off the biggest prank in the history of his middle school. Although he should be enjoying it, a frantic man gives him a package with the instructions not to open it and to deliver it to Mr. Jensen. Suddenly, he is part of something bigger than a small town prank. Knowing that this package is sitting in his room makes him curious as to what it contains and he opens it, only to find it's a box that will self destruct in just 24 hours. The only thing he can do is find Mr. Jensen, but there are two that work at his school and he must figure out which is the right one.
Carson's journey does not stop there, as he is asked to take on a mission, one dealing with protecting a new friend and helping save the world. Having wanted his whole life to be a part of something more, how can he refuse? I really loved Carson as a character and his friends had unique and engaging qualities that kept me reading and want to know more about each of them.
Rylander knows how to write an action story and I could not put down Codename Zero. Fans of his other books will fall in love with Carson and his mission to help save the world by being a good friend. The book moved quickly, a mix of intrigue and action, spotted with great relationships and fantastic moments. There's a mix of humor entwined within the story and so many laugh out loud moments as Carson learns what it is to be a spy.
Final Verdict: Codename Zero is a first in a new series that will not disappoint. For every reader who has ever wanted to be a secret agent, this is the book for you....more
The Lost Planet is about Chase, a boy who literally appeared from nowhere inside the shield of a home that only contains a boy named Parker and his a The Lost Planet is about Chase, a boy who literally appeared from nowhere inside the shield of a home that only contains a boy named Parker and his android Mina. When Chase wakes up, he has no memories and the only reason they know his name is from a chip that was found at the back of his head. Parker is an orphan who is taken care of by a man named Asa, who mysteriously is never around. The boys decide to take off in search of Chase's memories and visit the planet's moon. While they are there, the planet is destroyed, leaving them homeless and no closer to any answers.
The boys end up on the run, picking up a stranger who is almost dead only to find out he may be the terrorist responsible for the planet's untimely demise. There were so many questions to be answered by the middle of this book, that I could not wait for the dots to connect. I loved seeing how the three characters ended up being connected by the end of the book. By any means, it was not the best science fiction I've read, but it was a fun adventure with a space theme that kept me reading.
As the story unfolds, we find that there is more to Chase than he first knows and that he may be more vital than just some random boy. Parker's own story is still unclear by the end of the book, being unsure why he really was taken under the wing of the mysteriously not present Asa. Maurus' story is up and down as he is one of the few of his race that was in the Fleet and now supposedly a terrorist, although he claims otherwise. I'm assuming this is going to be the first in a series because I did not feel like everything was fleshed out fully, but I could be wrong. Personally, I'd love to read more of their adventures and see what happens after this book, especially with some new characters that also have strange abilities.
Final Verdict: The Lost Planet is a fun science fiction adventure, with memorable characters, some cool abilities and lots of plot twists. I think middle grade readers will enjoy this one because it moves fast and has a lot of interesting elements of the science fiction genre. ...more
Amazing Agent Luna was a book I had to pick up after reading Amazing Agent Jennifer. I was looking forward to seeing Jennifer aka Control as a grown Amazing Agent Luna was a book I had to pick up after reading Amazing Agent Jennifer. I was looking forward to seeing Jennifer aka Control as a grown adult and her interactions with Luna, a special agent born in a lab and raised to be a top secret agent. As you would think, she is rather naive when sent into the real world, not knowing what friendship or other relationships truly mean.
When her latest mission brings her to become a normal high school student, we see Jennifer in the role of her mother and starting to fit into that although it is against her nature. Luna seems to have caught the eye of bad boy Jonah, who happens to be the son of the evil Count Von Brucken. Of course, the missions she is on will lead her to become closer to Jonah and it's interesting to see the interactions between the two.
I absolutely loved the graphics of the manga and will be looking forward to the next volume. I'm glad that we also see Control in an uncomfortable role as a mother and cannot wait to see how that goes further on in the volumes. I love Dr. Andy, who just cracks me up and really is a bit of an icebreaker in the storyline.
Amazing Agent Luna is a series I am eager to read on with and I am looking forward to all of the action and drama in the next volumes. ...more
As a fan of Doug TenNapel, I cannot resist looking for more graphic novels by him and found Iron West at the library one day. I often do not know what As a fan of Doug TenNapel, I cannot resist looking for more graphic novels by him and found Iron West at the library one day. I often do not know what to expect with his work as it takes on a life of its own quickly. Iron West combines living machines with the Wild West in a crazy fun adventure that also involves Bigfoot and a giant train monster. For once, this one is also a little less appropriate for kids, with a couple of more naughtiness, but still full of adventure. I'd say most middle school and high school students would be fine with the content, but not exactly elementary aged material.
I love the way the setting and sci-fi elements are combined, creating quite a crazy adventure for Preston, a man who is not often one to be called a hero. In fact, he's only in town to take time with Miss Sharon, who is not sure why she followed him to such uncivilized territory. Actually, upon trying to escape, Preston seems to be forced into becoming a hero by trying to stop the machines from killing every human in sight. With a bit of nudging from Bigfoot and a little American Indian woman, he actually starts back to try to save Miss Sharon and everyone else in town.
Of course, he goes about it in his own crazy way, with antics that will have you laughing. Overall, I fell in love with another of Doug's graphic novels and probably will never find one that does not make me laugh, smile and become awestruck by the amazing illustrations and engrossing stories.
Final Verdict: A new favorite mix for me – westerns and sci-fi, makes a great story and visually was a lot of fun. Definitely for older readers....more