Reviews :: Book Genre :: Middle Grade

Review

Nightborn

Posted: August 28, 2015 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Lou Anders, Heroic Fantasy, Middle Grade
Nightborn

Karn is a gamer; his favorite game is Thrones and Bones (after which the series is named). When his best friend Thianna–half giant, half human–is kidnapped, he’s tasked by the dragon Orm to find her. Easier said than done, for he must travel far from his rural home to the city of Castlebriar, deal with duplicitous elves, and solve riddles. Thianna was on a quest to find a horn, much like the one they discovered in book one, FROSTBORN (Amazon)–these horns make it so the user can speak with and coerce magical beasts. And Orm isn’t the only one who wants to find the second horn.

Desstra is a dark elf, training to be a member of the Underhanded, a group of elite fighters. When an important test goes awry, she’s sent on a mission to prove she’s worthy. Part of that mission involves tricking Karn into thinking she’s something she isn’t. Because if she can’t get the horn before Karn does, then she will be outcast from the only home she’s ever known–even if she does think dark elves aren’t very nice.
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Review

Charlie and the Grandmothers

Posted: August 4, 2015 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Katy Towell, Horror, Middle Grade
Charlie and the Grandmothers

Charlie is worried. Ever since his father died a few years ago, he constantly worries about everything. Will he fall asleep in his soup and drown? Will his toes freeze off if he forgets to wear his socks? But Charlie’s sister Georgie loves an adventure, and unlike her brother doesn’t think about the consequences.

So when Grandmother Pearl invites them to visit, Georgie thinks it will be an exciting adventure. However, Charlie knows that they don’t have a Grandmother Pearl, that both their mother and father’s parents are long dead. But mother seems to be in a stupor and Charlie can’t snap her out of it. With mother needing medical care, the children have no choice left but to go, and they head to granny’s.

And discover that everything Charlie worries about is nothing compared to what awaits him at grandmother’s house.
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Review

The Screaming Staircase

Posted: July 22, 2015 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Johnathan Stroud, Fantasy, Middle Grade
The Screaming Staircase

Lucy can hear ghosts. Lockwood can see them. George is tactical support. Together they are Lockwood and Co, ghost hunters extraordinaire. Well, competent if not extraordinaire. Okay, maybe they’re just barely getting by.

You see, only children can see or hear ghosts, so when ghost hunters get too old to hunt them, they lead the teams. However, Lockwood and Co don’t employ adults. They’re three kids who live in the house Lockwood inherited from his parents. DERPAC (Department of Psychical Research and Control–run by adults of course) monitors all companies that deal with Visitors–aka ghosts–and believe that children gallivanting around without adult supervision are suspect, even if they are licensed.

DERPAC’s agent Barnes feels justified in questioning Lockwood when their most recent job results in destruction of a client’s property, which is a strict no-no. Now they’re in danger of losing the house, the business, and any means of gainful employment. What’s a ghost hunter to do?
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Review

Poison

Posted: October 31, 2014 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Bridget Zinn, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Poison

Kyra wants to kill the princess.

There was even an attempt, but she missed with her poison dart, and now she’s on the run from the king’s soldiers. She wants to finish the job, but the princess has gone into hiding and Kyra needs the rest of the poison potion she made at her old apartment where her former business partners still live.

Did I mention the princess used to be Kyra’s best friend?
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Review

Rain of the Ghosts

Posted: May 2, 2014 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Greg Weisman, Middle Grade, Urban Fantasy
Rain of the Ghosts

Teenage Rain Cacique lives in the Prospero Keys (known to locals as The Ghosts), a series of islands between Florida and the Bermuda Triangle. To her dismay, she’s pretty sure she’s going to spend the rest of her life there, catering to the tourists who come to enjoy the tropical weather and scenery. Her and her friend Charlie spend their last free days before school begins having as much fun as they can.
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Review

Fortunately, the Milk

Posted: December 11, 2013 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Neil Gaiman, Middle Grade
Fortunately, the Milk

The father has gone to the corner store to get milk for breakfast. Unfortunately, while he’s there he runs into a little trouble that keeps him from returning home in a timely fashion: the delay involves a time-traveling stegosaurus, pirates, aliens, and wumpires. It’s a miracle he even gets home.  When he tells his kids the story for some reason they’re a bit skeptical.
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Review

The Suprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet

Posted: October 9, 2013 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Tom Angleberger, Middle Grade
The Suprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet

I’m the mother of two boys: 10 and 9 years old. One is an avid reader and one isn’t, but I read as part of their bedtime ritual and search far and wide to find books all of us will enjoy.

Enter Tom Angleberger’s Origami Yoda series. The man is a genius: middle grade kids, a mystery, Star Wars, and origami? There’s something in there for everyone. Oh, and they’re hysterical.
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Review

Down the Mysterly River

Down the Mysterly River

I have a kid that has a blanket.  Anyone with kids (or who can still remember their “blanket”) totally knows where I’m going with this.  This raggedy piece of purple stitching gets dragged around everywhere.  Actually, it only used to be a blanket–these days about 12 square inches in size–but it’s still the only source of comfort that works every time.

DOWN THE MYSTERLY RIVER (Amazon) is a novel written by Bill Willingham that contains an amalgam of other authors’ characters caught up in a young-adult adventure story right out of the storybooks.  The main character, Max the Wolf (originally written by Lawrence Swift) is a scout’s scout that teams up with a number of talking animals (from the minds and imaginations of several others) after waking up in a forest with little to no memory of how they got there.
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Review

Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea

Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea

Perhaps Ursula K. Le Guin‘s most recognizable work, her Earthsea stories are categorized as YA—but are definitely worth reading as adults. The first novel, A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA was published in 1968, and revolves around the wizard Ged and the islands and sea of Earthsea itself. It starts off with Ged leaving home to learn magic at a school. Sound familiar? Le Guin is the reason why it does.
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Review

The Graveyard Book

Posted: August 7, 2009 by Nickolas in Books We Like Meta: Neil Gaiman, Middle Grade, Urban Fantasy
The Graveyard Book

Lest you dear readers feel we have a prejudice against novels that are written for young adults or children, we are here today to prove you wrong.

Neil Gaiman‘s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (Amazon) is a prime example of a brilliantly written children’s book. Granted, as a children’s book it’s a simpler read, and in many ways not as beautifully complex as the anvil sized tomes we prefer. But some of the most brilliant and enjoyable things in the world are easy and simple (bashing on TWILIGHT for example is the easiest, simplest thing in the world–and yet both enjoyable, and a mark of intelligence).

In addition, while THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is a simple read, it is by no means simple.
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