Posts that have been tagged with: "Middle Grade"

Review

Sorcery for Beginners

Posted: April 18, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Sorcery for Beginners

Owen is your average Middle Schooler: he’s ok at sports, he passes his classes, and he has a couple friends. But when his mom leaves to work in Sumatra and dad takes him to live in Las Vegas, Owen is sure life will never be the same.

Even then, he didn’t account for finding the Codex Arcanum bookstore and buying SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS. Now his life is *really* going to change.

SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS claims it’s what the title says: that this book will teach you, via story and real-life examples, how to become a sorcerer. You’ll follow Owen’s story as he buys the book after being promised the “Spell to Rewrite History” which Owen plans to use to revert to the time before his mom left.
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Review

The Creeping Shadow

Posted: October 24, 2017 by Vanessa in Books We Love Tags: Horror, Johnathan Stroud, Middle Grade
The Creeping Shadow

I suppose I should be embarrassed for the squees involved in a series meant for middle grade readers. Certainly I am an Elitist, but that doesn’t mean I won’t give recognition where it is due. And Johnathan Stroud is due recognition for a smart, well-written, engaging horror series known as Lockwood & Co.

In THE HOLLOW BOY Lucy’s ability to talk to ghosts changes everything, and she learns that if she stays with the company her presence may be the result of Lockwood’s death. So, out of loyalty and love for her friend and co-worker, she leaves to become a freelancer. In the opening of THE CREEPING SHADOW we see how Lucy is handling her new life–and learning the hard way how much more competent Lockwood and Co. is than other ghost hunting groups. Sure she misses her old team, but is determined to never go back.

She sticks to her plan until the day Lockwood shows up at her little apartment to hire her for a job that the famed Penelope Fittes wants them to do–and it requires Lucy’s special listening skills. How can she say no?
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Review

The Hollow Boy

Posted: March 7, 2017 by Vanessa in Books We Love Tags: Horror, Johnathan Stroud, Middle Grade
The Hollow Boy

From Amazon: “As a massive outbreak of supernatural Visitors baffles Scotland Yard and causes protests throughout London, Lockwood & Co. continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in exterminating spirits. Anthony Lockwood is dashing, George insightful, and Lucy dynamic, while the skull in the jar utters sardonic advice from the sidelines. There is a new spirit of openness in the team now that Lockwood has shared some of his childhood secrets, and Lucy is feeling more and more as if her true home is at Portland Row. It comes as a great shock, then, when Lockwood and George introduce her to an annoyingly perky and hyper-efficient new assistant, Holly Munro.

“Meanwhile, there are reports of many new hauntings, including a house where bloody footprints are appearing, and a department store full of strange sounds and shadowy figures. But ghosts seem to be the least of Lockwood & Co.’s concerns when assassins attack during a carnival in the center of the city.”

Yep. This series just gets better and better.
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Review

Song of the Deep

Posted: October 25, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Brian Hastings, Middle Grade
Song of the Deep

Young Merryn and her father live by the sea, where her father fishes for his living. Merryn’s mother is dead, so it’s just the two of them living in the shack by the sea–at a time when being a fisherman grows more and more difficult, there are fewer fish being caught every time he goes out to sea.

Until one day when her father doesn’t return.
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Review

The Whispering Skull

Posted: April 19, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Love Tags: Fantasy, Johnathan Stroud, Middle Grade
The Whispering Skull

The kids at Lockwood & Co. are doing just fine. The events in THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE gave them enough notoriety to keep them busy with work and enough money for a comfortable lifestyle–even if it hasn’t made them rich. But being the smallest ghost hunting agency in London makes them a target for agencies like Tittles where Kipps’ team takes the prize from under Lockwood’s nose in the opening chapter. A frustrated Lockwood team grows bold and bets Kipps’ team that if they end up on the same case again, the team who loses the bet must take out a newspaper ad declaring the other the best ghost hunting team in town.

It doesn’t take long before the Lockwood team is put to the test, and it turns out to be their most dangerous case yet.
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Review

The Nameless City

Posted: April 6, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Faith Erin Hicks, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade
The Nameless City

THE NAMELESS CITY by Faith Erin Hicks is about a city that has changed hands so many times from invading armies that it has several names–so really has no name. The city is a mix of natives, conquerors, and everything in between; currently it’s held by the Dao. Kaidu has traveled to the city from his rural home so he can train to be a solider in the Dao army, and to be closer to his father who is an advisor to the general.

Upon his arrival Kaidu discovers some important things early on: he doesn’t really like fighting, his father doesn’t have much time for him, and the city’s natives don’t much like their conquerors. On his visit outside the palace to the city he meets a girl who calls herself Rat. Kaidu doesn’t understand her hostility, so is intent on getting her to talk to him. Then she steals the knife his father gave him.
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Review

The Dragon Lantern

Posted: September 17, 2015 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Alan Gratz, Middle Grade, Steampunk
The Dragon Lantern

In THE LEAGUE OF SEVEN (EBR Review), our young heroes Archie, Hachi, and Fergus (along with Archie’s trusty Tik Tok man Mr. Rivets) worked together to stop the Mangleborn monster from the Florida swamps. They discovered that these creatures are buried all over the Earth, waiting for the day when they will be freed from their prisons and can take over humanity. It is only a new League of Seven–a tinker, a law-bringer, a scientist, a trickster, a warrior, a strongman, and a hero–who can stop them.

Now, in THE DRAGON LANTERN (Amazon), with the first three members of new League discovered, they are sent on a quest by the Septemberist Society and Mrs. Moffitt to recover the Dragon Lantern. She believes this was the artifact that transformed Archie and may hold the answers to his past.

But immediately upon recovering the lantern it’s stolen.
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Review

The League of Seven

Posted: September 15, 2015 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Alan Gratz, Middle Grade, Steampunk
The League of Seven

Archie Dent’s parents are members of a secret society that knows about the giant monsters who want to enslave humanity. He’s always known about the Mangleborn who were buried by past League of Seven members, aided by the Septemberist Society. The League is always seven: a tinker, a law-bringer, a scientist, a trickster, a warrior, a strongman, and a hero. And now that the Mangleborn are attempting to escape again, a new League will form.

But all Archie knows right now is that his parents have been brainwashed by Manglespawn and in order to save them, he needs help. Along the way he meets Hachi, a Seminole girl with impressive skills with a knife; Fergus, a Yankee with an aptitude for machines; and there’s the Tik Tok machine man named Mr. Rivets, owned by Archie’s parents and tasked to keep his young charge safe.

But it’s only by working together that they can stop Edison from waking the Mangleborn buried in the swamps of Florida.
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Review

Nightborn

Posted: August 28, 2015 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Lou Anders, Middle Grade, Sword & Sorcery
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 Tags: Horror, Katy Towell, 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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