Tag Archive | Middle Grade

REVIEW: Bad Luck by Pseudonymous Bosch

Bad Luck by Pseudonymous Bosch

Series: The Bad Books #2

Read: February 26 – March 1, 2017

Format: ebook ARC

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 9, 2016

Genre: MG Fantasy

Pages: 288

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA, TBR 2017, 2017 Beat The Backlist, Flights of Fantasy 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Some people have all the luck.

Unfortunately, Clay isn’t one of them: He’s the only camper at Earth Ranch without a magical talent. As if feeling totally useless isn’t enough, Clay has to figure out what to do about Brett, a castaway boy who has just washed ashore and is determined to keep his presence a secret. Even as Clay helps his new friend hide in the remote volcanic island’s wilderness, another fiery mystery begins to emerge, with all signs pointing to the impossible idea that dragons once roamed the island…and may still. Can Clay and his friends turn their luck around in time to uncover Price Island’s secrets–and save it from a scorching end?

Danger, adventure, mischief, mystery, old foes, new friends, and a delightfully elusive narrator make bestselling author Pseudonymous Bosch’s latest novel completely irresistible.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

I acquired Bad Luck as a READ NOW from NetGalley. Back when I was devouring books one after the other and didn’t need to worry about my score because I was going through them so fast. Then my work situation changed and suddenly I wasn’t going through books so fast. Suddenly I had less time to read, and a pile of books from NetGalley that weren’t really catching my interest.

Shame on me. When I took on the #BeatTheBacklist challenge my goal was to clear out my NetGalley list. Looking at all the little thumbnail covers none of them jumped out at me. I knew I wanted something clean, so I held my breath and dove into this middle grade book.

And then I was kicking myself for not starting sooner. Upon closer inspection of the cover (darn you little thumbnail images that hide details!) there’s a DRAGON! That right there gives a book an automatic star. Probably. Okay, not really, but it certainly is a sign that I will probably enjoy the books contents.

So what’s this book about? Clay is a boy who attends Earth Ranch, a summer camp for misfits who happen to be magicians. Like, the kind of magicians with real magical powers. Earth Ranch also happens to be located on an island in the middle of nowhere. When Clay comes across a boy washed ashore, things get weird. Soon the island is swarming with men in search of the missing boy, but Clay and his friends are sure something else is going on.

This is a solid middle grade read that was enjoyable for this girl who has not been in middle school for… well, a very long time. There were bits of middle grade potty humor, but nothing too over the top, just enough to remind me “oh yeah, this is a middle grade book targeted at boys”. I loved the footnotes the author included, filled with humor. I loved the dragon. I loved the excerpts from the book about taming a dragon scattered through the novel. Though it was nothing too complex, I loved the plot.

This is a book I’ll be giving my 10-year-old daughter to read and, just maybe, purchasing the rest of the books.

Don’t overlook this series. I can’t speak for the first book, as I haven’t read it, but now that I’ve read this one I plan to!



Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~

 

You can find book 1, Bad Magic, here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

 

A sunburned boy pointed at him. “Hey, penguin, wrong cruise—North Pole is the other way.”

“You mean South Pole,” Brett replied automatically. “No penguins in the north. Just… elves.”

And next time, try a higher SPF, he thought. Lobster.

 

…But at Earth Ranch the campers tended to confuse crime with magic. Both things, after all, involved the breaking of laws—the one the laws of the land, the other the laws of nature.

 

Clay knelt by the boy’s side and put his hand on the boys cheek. It was cold and clammy. But was it dead clammy? Or just clammy?

 

Always remember, dear apprentice Dragon Tamer, that you are not and never will be a tamer of dragons. A dragon is not a lion in a circus. A dragon cannot be trained any more than it can be caged. It is foolish to think so—and almost certain death if you try.

 

Although dragons are infinitely smarter than people, they are also simpler. Push a dragon and it will push back. Treat a dragon gently and it will treat you gently. Try to kill a dragon and it will try to kill you.

No, it will kill you.

This is not justice. Nor is it unjust. It just is.

 

“There is no need to shout, puny human creature.”

 

On the other hand, part of being a scientist, as she understood it, was accepting empirical evidence when it was presented to you. You didn’t simply deny the existence of a thing because it didn’t fit your theory of the universe; the existence of the thing meant that your theory of the universe was flawed. And a dragon—a real dragon—what an amazing discovery that would be!

 

(From the footnotes)

According to DC Comics and some Greek pottery, Themyscira was the home of the Amazons, the all-female warrior tribe of ancient Greece. Not to be confused with The Amazon River, which derives its name from the same source. Nor with the giant, bookselling website, which, though seemingly invincible, may yet someday fall prey to a vengeful tribe of warrior women out to reclaim their rightful name.

 

REVIEW: Moving Target by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

I recently had the privilege to take part in Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit and took on the challenge of reading a middle grade book, something I don’t normally do.
Read on to find out about this title and MCBD.


 

Moving Target by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Series: Series #1

Read: January 15 – 26, 2017

Format: Hardback

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: August 25, 2015

Genre: Middle Grade Adventure

Pages: 256

Reading Challenges: European Reading Challenge & #2017YARC

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Cassie Arroyo, an American studying in Rome, has her world ripped apart when someone tries to kill her father, an art history professor at an Italian university. Is she their next target?

Cassie sets out to uncover what is happening, only to learn that she is a member of an ancient bloodline that enables her to use the Spear of Destinya legendary object that can alter the future. Now running from a secret organization intent on killing those from her bloodline, Cassie mustwith the help of some friendsdecipher the clues that will lead her to the Spear.

Christina Diaz Gonzalez has created a fast-paced thrill-ride of a book, rich with riddles and myth, that young readers will not want to put down.


REVIEW

Special thanks to the MCBD for providing a copy in exchange for this review.

 

Another reviewer compared Moving Target to the DaVinci Code and I have to agree. It’s like DaVinci Code Light. Or Diet DaVinci Code. It’s a great introduction to kids who are into that kind of adventure story.

This is a fairly short book, so I personally could have done with some more character building, but I think for the target age there is just enough for them to get connected and engaged.

The action starts off with a bang – literally – when Cassie and her dad start running from she doesn’t even know what. When Cassie’s dad is shot, she’s on her own, left with only one cryptic clue from her father, which sends her down the rabbit hole and change her life forever.

I like that the author chose to use the Spear of Destiny as the object the kids are after. I like the lore she created for the Spear, that one person can control the destiny of the world. And I love that if Cassie gets her hands on it, the fate of the world will rest in the hands of an 8th grader. Yikes!

The action in this book was pretty much non-stop, only slowing down in the beginning once Cassie gets to the Monastery. I’m really not sure if there’s anything else that could have helped that though because that info needed to be given, the scenes had to happen.

It was cool to see a variation of languages in this book as well. Cassie’s father is of Cuban descent so she and her father speak Spanish from time to time. The story takes place in Italy, so there is also some Italian sprinkled in. It makes me want to start using my DuoLingo app again because I recognized some of that Italian, but I couldn’t translate it in my head!

Some of the riddles/puzzles Cassie had to solve to complete her quest were too easy in my opinion. It baffled me that no adult character had figured it all out sooner. I had to keep reminding me that the target audience for this book would not have the same reasoning skills as an adult.

The characters also read a little young to me. I kept forgetting that the girls were 8th graders and Asher was 15. They just felt younger to me.

There was a twist at the end, but I saw it coming, which was sort of disappointing. Until the last twist happened that I did not see coming, so that was a real treat! I’m curious to read the second book just to see what comes next for Cassie.

Overall it was a quick read. It wasn’t a book I couldn’t put down, but I also didn’t dread having to pick it up again. For me as an adult, it was average. But I’m not the target audience and I think middle grade kids will enjoy it.

 

So, should you read it?

I don’t think adult readers will get much out of this story, but I think middle grade kids would, especially those who like fast past books with puzzles and riddles. I considered having my 4th grader read it, but I think she may be a bit young for it. Perhaps in a year or two.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christina grew up in a small Southern town in the Florida panhandle, but she’s always been in touch with her Cuban heritage. She loves having breakfast with pan cubano and Southern style gritsthe best of both worlds!

She is the author of the award-winning novels, The Red Umbrella, A Thunderous Whisper, and the action-adventure duology, MOVING TARGET RETURN FIRE (Scholastic).

 


ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

Scholastic was founded in 1920 as a single classroom magazine. Today, Scholastic books and educational materials are in tens of thousands of schools and tens of millions of homes worldwide, helping to Open a World of Possible for children across the globe. The mission of Scholastic is to encourage the intellectual and personal growth of all children, beginning with literacy. Scholastic will also be helping with social media efforts surrounding this event and working to get the MCBD the message out. We will have more details and images in the days to follow, but in the meantime we simply wanted to share the good news. Be sure and connect with Scholastic on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and multiple other social media outlets.


QUOTES

What did this bald-headed, bow-tie-wearing, tweed-jacket-loving teacher have against me? I might not be a great student in his World History class, but I got good grades in my other classes.

 

Choices determine destiny.

It was similar to something my dad used to tell me when I was little. He’d remind me of how my mother would always say that the beauty of life was its uncertainty. How you could choose your own future and nothing was preordained.

It had never been more true.

I had to choose to be hrave.


MCBD

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee & Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawDelores Connors, Maria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand, Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson,  Hena Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra RichardsElsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

 

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Other Important Links:

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents