Sunday, October 30, 2011

Closed for the Season

"The Weather-Beaten Sign on the Gate of the Magic Forest Says Closed for the Season"
Bookworm's Ranking - 3 Worms
Storyline - When Logan moves to a new town, he learns that the previous owner of the house his family has moved into was murdered there. The case was never solved. As he and his new friend look into the mystery, they come across a message which leads them into another mystery, one where money disappeared from the old theme park, The Magic Forest, which closed years before. It was believed the murdered woman stole the money but the boys don't think so. As they follow the clues, they wrestle with lies and scary individuals to finally find the truth.

Author - Mary Downing Hahn

Publisher - Sandpiper, Houghton Mifflin Publishing

Age Group - 12 and up

Content - No swearing but several times a character mentions that someone else does. One of the main things the book teaches is that you can't judge a book by the cover because the characters do not follow stereotypes. Logan disobeys his parents and then doesn't get punished for it too much (well the first time he does, it seems like the mom goes over board and the second mentions him getting lectured but it doesn't seem to do much of anything. The mom is actually portrayed as an un-understanding, controlling woman). The boys also steal something.

Personal Opinion - The book had a good story but it seemed disjointed sometimes and didn't flow very nice. The kids disobeyed a lot and, when the mom freaked out about it, you ended up not really liking her. Yet, they were being naughty but everyone else made it seem like not that big of a deal. But the mystery that the author came up with was good and so was the set up for it. I was thankful there wasn't any ghosts in it which I feared when I realized the author also writes ghost stories (not really a ghost story person). Nice book but won't recommend it too much.

Video - (Not exactly a trailer but cool none the less)

Awards - Edger Award for Best Juvenile Mystery

Links - Lean more about the book and author at:

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blood of Kings: To Darkness Fled

"Enter Darkness..."
Bookworm's Ranking - 5 Worms

Storyline - Achan and Vrell have entered Darkness and are still running for their lives. But as a price is put on their heads, Achan needs to learn decorum and how to be king but is distracted by a suspicion that Vrell is hiding something. Vrell is doing all she can to help Achan and keep her identity a secret but it is getting more dangerous each day. Proposals, battles, growth in Arman, and trials face them as they try to restore Er'Rets.

Author - Jill Williamson

Publisher - Marcher Lord Press

Age Group - 16 and up

Content - Lots of proposals, both by Achan and the women. Disgusting men think inappropriately about  women. Achan learns much of Arman and giving his life to Him and trusting Him which was lovely. Vrell is always watching Achan's back and has to work throw her own deceit.

Personal Opinion - Enjoyed every page of it and then had to order book 3 not long after finishing this book (okay, it was the next day). Great how Achan comes to learn of Armon, decorum (which can be a funny process to behold), and how he wants to be when he is king. He is also kind to others such as strays and wants no one to suffer on account of him. Romance also begins to spark which is wonderful and well put together. The characters really grow and come to life.  Loved it and can't wait to see how it will all be wrapped up (that will also be sad because then it will be over). Well, can't have everything.

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Awards - 2011 Christy Award in the Visionary category.

Links - Learn more about the series and author at:

Other books: Book 1 review -
                     Book 3 review - Coming Soon

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Conspiracy 365: January-April

Bookworms Rating - 4 Worms

Storyline - Book 1-4 - January, February, March, April - It all starts on New Years Eve when an old man Cal has never met, or seen, before tells him that his father was murdered and someone was going to be coming after him for the next year. After that, one thing after another almost kills Cal until he is eventually driven from his home and family. As Cal tries to piece together the mystery his father told about before his illness and death, he must also survive the coming attacks. What ever and where ever they come. As the months continue, he has to stay hidden and secretive to stay alive. Will he make it and find the secret his father found?

Author - Gabrielle Lord

Age Group - 12 and up

Content - Cal supports and cares for his mother and doesn't want to add any burdens to her but hides important information and events from his mother (he learns this as well but a little too late). .  He loves his sister, talks to her, and is good to her. Even though he doesn't like his uncle, he tries to help him once. In book 2, he tries to save someone who is after him from death and starts to see his uncle in a new light. But, Cal does some irresponsible things several times throughout the series. He once meets someone in a park alone at night (but quickly learns that was a mistake). He also calls his uncle a liar and a jerk. He describes an angel as "stinking" (but, from the situation he's in at that moment, I can kinda understand why he used that description) and his father didn't really follow any one religion but said "life was his religion". In book 2, he follows a girl into a house as she steals something (she says it is hers but still), Boges forges his mum's signature, and several times Cal steals. Not just food but others things (I wont go over them because it will spoil it) and once attacks a policeman. There is also some language

Personal Opinion - I found this book entertaining, fast moving, and engaging. Even though this book was under 200 pages, it did a wonderful job of describing the characters, emotions, events, past events, what something looked like, ect. The endings are very fun, being in a way I enjoy (cliffhanger). But, at least in the first book, it was a little choppy when, in the middle of a chapter, it updated the time it was during that day which interrupted the story too much. An interesting gimmick but took a book to get use to. I wish the character didn't steal so much and used less bad language (but I would prefer no fowel language. Besides, compared to some books I have read, this one has very little) but the character can still grow and come to find new things. Even though his father didn't follow any one religion, there wasn't any religious bashing which was also nice. An exciting series so far but I think I need to wait to see how it ends before recommending it.

Links - Learn more about the books and author here.

Conspiracy 365: May-August, Review
Conspiracy 365: Spetember-December, Review - Coming Soon

Special Notes - Each month during the year 2010, a new book in the series came out to correspond with that month. There are 12 books total.

Originally posted on 4/03/2011 on book one. Re-posted on 4/10/2011 with book 2. Updated on 10/16/2011 for books 3 and 4.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

 Bookworm's Ranking - 2 Worms

Storyline - After getting in trouble at his school on the Spokane Reservation, Junior decided that he wants to go to school in Reardan, a white school in the town 22 miles away, to try to make a better life for himself. During his freshman year, he deals with racism, crushes, the hate of his tribe, and loses as he tries to find his way and a place to belong and acceptance.

Author - Sherman Alexie

Publisher - Little, Brown and Company

Age Group - 15 and up

Content - Had some good lessons about fighting for yourself, getting out of bad situations, and forgiveness. He also came to see what revenge really was and showed that you have to work hard to make a better life for yourself but it is what is best in the end. There was also examples about what racisim looked like and how cruel and wrong it can be. But the book also had lots of sexual coments, an insolting comment about Christianity and other Christian religion negatives, and bad language. He blamed God for bad things that were happening, made fun of God, and the only time he thanked God was for something gross. I'm not asking for the character to become Christian but some respect would have been nice. Said he could kill himself and some others but was very depressed at the time from some precious people dying in his life.

Personal Opinion - Even though there were parts I liked, I would hesitate recommending this book because of some of the content within. I would have liked the book more if there had been less sexual content and the negative comments about Christianity hadn't been there but I really enjoyed the snappy comebacks that Junior came up with and the book leaving you with hope that he will make a better life for himself unlike some of the others in his tribe. At times, there was a lot of telling instead of showing in the book but it is in diary format so that works. The way it portrayed how bad drunkenness is and what it can do to you which had a sobering affect. If this is what it is truly like in school systems and for Native Americans, oh boy, it is sad.

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Awards - 2007 National Book Award, 2008 Boston-Globe Horn Book Award, 2009 International Book on Books for Young People Sweden - Peter Pan Prize, 2010 California Young Reader Medal, and Finalis for the 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It has also been on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Links - Learn more about the book and author at: (P.S. This is the only book by this author that is for young adults)

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

TJ and the Time Stublers: OOPS!

"Any Second TJ Finkelstein Hopes Her Life Will Return to Normal. And it could, Except For... "
Bookworm's Ranking - 4 Worms

Storyline - Book 3 - TJ is swamped with two future boys, Tuna and Herby, hanging around that no one else can see, surviving school, and not embarrassing herself (but the future boys make that difficult for her). But as a gadget goes wrong and the famous TV star at her school comes after her, it will take everything she's got to think kindly of others.

Author - Bill Myers

Publisher - Tyndale Publishers

Age Group - 10 and up

Content - TJ thinks badly of others but learns to think about them as God does. Lots of bullies being... Well... Bullies.

Personal Opinion - This book was very funny and kept me laughing at the antics and the silliness throughout. Using LARGE letting at times to show the emotions and the funny jokes such as when you could hear peoples' thoughts for the geeks or jocks, you would think that those would be the thoughts of those characters but at the same time they were funny and made you laugh. Just the craziness happening to the main character was enough to make me giggle. The story was simple but this book is meant for a younger age group than I am used to reading so I have to keep that in mind. It was clean, fun, and had good message of God, about not only not saying mean things about others but even not thinking them. This book would be even better with a discussion guide to go deeper into the lesson that was emphasized in it and going a tad deeper into the characters. Enjoyable book and I am interested in reading the others.

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Disclaimer - In exchange for an honest review, I received this book for free from Tyndale Blogger Network.

Links - Learn more about the series and author at:

Special Notes - This is the third book in the series but I have not read books 1 and 2 so I do not have a review for them.

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