Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: The Dragonlords Heir (The Ascalon Trilogy#1) by Christina Kenway


Logan Lockwood's thirteenth birthday is quickly approaching and with it has brought him a repeating nightmare about a shadow man, a golden spear and a dragon. Logan would just like to celebrate  his birthday with plenty of cake, pizza and nonstop video games but when a mysterious man  named Marcus shows up at the door telling him he is a friend of his estranged father, Logan's plans quickly change.  You see, Logan comes from a long line of legendary dragon slayers and now that he has turned thirteen, he became the next Dragonlord.  With this new title comes the added responsibility of making sure that no dragons can escape from their tombs.  Yet, that is exactly what Cain Hunter has planned for the upcoming Saint George's Day.  

My thoughts:  
The Dragonlord's Heir centers on Saint George, the patron saint who according to legend slayed a dragon.  There is also a really cool sword named Ascalon that was split into parts and need to be reunited in order for Logan to kill the dragon Bolla that Cain is trying to resurrect.   In order to do this, Logan goes through various trials to attain each piece. 

I really enjoyed the historical aspects of the story, even though events take place in the current time period.   I can see middle graders getting wrapped up in the action and betrayals that go on in the story.   I kinda felt Logan reads as a somewhat older thirteen year old at times, but then again  he makes enough mistakes by being impulsive with his desire to protect the people who join him on his quest to come off as authentic.   I do take some issue with the idea that Logan's mother would let Markus  take him off on this adventure without either her or Logan showing more emotion over the situation.  Yet, children may not have an issue with this as much as I would. Overall, I felt the plot was engaging and the action kept the pace going.   There was nice teenage moments between Emma and Logan that could hopefully be expanded upon in the next book.  Plus, I kinda liked how Emma saved Logan on numerous occasions rather then the other way around.   A fun read for those who like stories about thirteen year old dragon slayers with lots of action.  An ebook copy of The Dragonlord's Heir was provided for my review and in no way influenced my opinion.  

There is currently a book giveaway going on at Goodreads

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review: The Secret Zoo: Riddles and Danger (The Secret Zoo #3) by Bryan Chick


I've always loved the premise of The Secret Zoo book series and felt the strength of the books lies with the four main characters, Noah, his sister Megan, and their  friends Richie and Ellie.  Plus the covers are always illustrated so lovely.  Book one was really an introduction of the main characters who built their clubhouse, next to the Clarksville City Zoo.  With Megan's disappearance, the scouts jumped into action making their way into the zoo and receiving aid from a polar bear, a flying penguin, a prairie dog,  a rhinoceros and a messenger kingfisher.   The book was both magical and mysterious.  

 After the first book, I was eager to continue with Secrets and Shadows but became bogged down by the large amount of time spent on the scouts training and introduction of their new instructors the Descenders, Tank and the history of how the Secret Zoo came about.   I felt some of the magical elements were still there and still enjoyed the different secret doorways that the children entered.  

 Book three is titled Riddles and Danger.   After Tank discovers muddy footprints, the scouts are called upon to fight off the dangerous Sasquatches that are threatening  the town.  I was expecting a high paced action packed book after the second book.  Chick delivers some of the action and suspense toward the end of the book when the scouts encounter the Sasquatchs and various battles and escapes ensue.  The mysterious black trench coat man wearing a fedora hat who has been elusive throughout the series continues to be prevalent and exactly what his plans are for the zoo will hopefully become more evident in the next books.  

Since reading book three, I've found out that Book 4, Traps and Specters, and Book 5, Raids and Rescues have been published and the book series is outlined as a 15 book series.  Here is where my hesitance comes in with continuing with this series, although there are some magical elements and the action improved from book two to three, I have reservations about vesting the time into such a lengthy series where the action is sporadic. On the other hand, there are still unanswered questions and the animal companions provide some motivation to continue with the series.  Guess it will depend on whether my public library continues to carry the series, seeing that is where I get my review copy.        

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Rose by Holly Webb


Rose has always dreamed of leaving  St Bridget's Home for Abandoned Girls and getting a job.  She knows that by being employed, she one day will be free.  When Miss Bridges shows up at the orphangage looking for a new  housemaid, Rose thinks that the solution to her problems have been solved.  Yet, working for the famous alchemist Mr. Fountain isn't everything she expected it to be.  For one, there is magic at the mansion and Rose begins to think some of it is inside of her.  

I've been intrigued by this book for sometime.  The idea of a grand mansion flowing with magic and a girl around ten who rather then be adopted, wants to gain employment.  Going in, I was expecting a magical story, but Rose spends most of the book resisting her magical skills.   Rose's resistance and attempts to stop her magical abilities (communicating with animals and make vivid images appear during story telling) really slowed the story down. Things don't get moving again until Rose needs her magical skills to help Freddie, the apprentice of Mr. Fountain, and when trying to find  the local children and girls from the orphange who've gone missing.   Given it's the first in the series, I may seek out the other books; Rose and the Lost Princess, Rose and the Magician's Mask, and Rose and the Silver Ghost just to see where the magical elements go.  Plus, I really liked the talking cat.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Join Us for Classic YA/MG ReadalongsI joined the challenge over at The Midnight Garden to try and read at least 8 classic MG books in 2014.  It was an easy challenge for me to join because there are so many books out there that I know I must have read as a child.  Yet, if you asked me to pin point how old I was when I read it, well I would have a huge struggle.  Books were kinda like clothing in my house as a kid, they got handed down from one child to the next. 

Charlotte's Web  So to start things off, I picked Charlotte's Web.  The edition that I read was published in 1952 (that isn't the cover off of the book I read, but came the closest).  My edition was well  worn and appeared to have been read many a time over the years in the library.   I picked Charlotte's Web because it struck me as one of those books that I would have read and loved as a child.  It's so easy to see why this book is a timeless classic.  Instant appeal, characters that are endearing and a heartfelt story-line.   Part about a girl who comes to love the companionship of a pig, and a pig who finds friendship with a spider.  It's also about growing up, as we see Fern begin to show more interest in riding a ferriswheel with one of the local boys then watching Wilbur compete in the fair.   It's also a story of loss dealt with in a gentle manner.  Lovely, lovely book that I really enjoyed revisiting.  Favorite line "The grass was wet and the earth smelled of springtime."  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: THE DREAM THIEVES Book Two of The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)Summary from Goodreads:  Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. 

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. 

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

I was drawn back to The Raven Cycle by the strong friendships that were developed in the first book.  I really wanted to see where the story was going to go next, so once I saw it at the library, I didn't even hesitate to check it out.  From the cover, I knew that this book was going to be about Ronan.  His is a story that I was eager to learn more about, especially the relationships between him and his family. An underlying premise of this book deals with secrets. As Stiefvater  explains,  "There are three kinds of secrets. One is the sort everyone knows about, the sort you need at least two people for.  One to keep it.  One to never know.  The second is a harder kind of secret: one you keep from yourself.  ....And there is the third kind of secret, the most hidden kind.  A secret no one knows about.  Perhaps it was known once, but was taken to the grave.  Or maybe it is a useless mystery, arcane and lonely, unfound because no one ever looked for it...."  I love how Stiefvater takes the idea of secrets and lets it unfold through Ronan's point of view in the story.   I think he is turning into my favorite character of the Raven Boys.   Where Stiefvater would take it, I never expected, but I loved it none the less.  Sequels can sometimes be hard, but The Dream Thieves was executed very well with plenty of romance, danger, mystery and action.  From the lovely moments between Gansey and Blue and the additions of the Gray Man and Joseph Kavinsky  ratcheting up the  tension and action of the story, I absolutely loved this book and eagerly await the next in the series.         

Monday, February 10, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Andy Smithson Venom of the Serpent's Cunning by L.R.W. LEE

Venom of the Serpent's Cunning (Andy Smithson, #2)

It's been nine months and 23 days since Andy has returned home to Lake Hills, Texas from Oomaldee.  Since then, he has dreamed of nothing but going back to help break the 500 year old curse which prevents King Hercalon and Mermin from dying and has placed a terrible fog over the land.  All that's left behind for him in Texas is a trunk full of scrolls, that Andy can't read, and too many mysteries.  Yet, when Sir Gawain comes charging in on his stead with news from the castle that Andy's help is once again needed, he is more then eager to go back.  What Andy doesn't suspect is that he will be attacked as soon as he is pulled back and things have changed in Oomaldee.  The King is preparing for a war and Razen, the new manager to the King, doesn't appear trustworthy to Andy.   Andy also still has to contend with Imogenia, who is set on revenge for her brother King Hercalon murdering her so many years ago.  Now that she has joined forces with King Abbadon, Andy might not stand a chance in recovering the second piece he needs to gather to help break the curse. When King Abbadon steals the Stone of Athanasia, the very thing that keeps the King and Mermin alive, Andy is faced with the tough choice of helping the King who has fallen ill or continuing on his quest to gather all the pieces to break the curse.  

I read the first book Blast of the Dragon's Fury in August, 2013.  At the time, I thought Andy was the kind of character that kids could easily relate to.  I liked that Andy made mistakes and learned to follow his conscience.  This second book is really starting to be my favorite in the series thus far.  One of the nice things about this series is that although it is purely fantasy, the relationships between the people are very realistic.  Each book also has wonderful messages about forgiveness, responsibility, or patience.  Plus there is lots of action, and some very touching moments between Andy and King Hercalon. Overall, a series that middle grade children will definitely enjoy with a nice mix of medieval times with everyday principles. An ebook copy of Venom of The Serpent's Cunning was provided for my review.  I'm looking forward to see where the story goes next in Book 3.     

Mrs. Lee's book is available at:
Amazon Paperback
Amazon Kindle
All Other eBook Versions

There is also a free podcast for Book 1, Andy Smithson: Blast of Dragon's Fury at the  iTunes store

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Book Launch Tour for Andy Smithson Venom of the Serpent's Cunning by L.R.W. LEE

I'm very excited to be participating in the Book Launch Tour of L.R.W. Lee's second book Andy Smithson Venom of the Serpent's Cunning.  I hope you'll come back on February 11th for my Review.   

As a part of the book launch tour, L.R.W. Lee is also offering a giveaway of 9 other fantasy adventure ebooks.  To enter go to the  Author's website

For a full list of tour stops with author interviews and reviews visit Andy Smithson's Adventure Series