Showing posts with label Action/Adventure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Action/Adventure. Show all posts

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Student Saturday: Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz


Student Reviewer:  Robert M

Genre:  Middle Grade, Adventure

Alex Rider is back in the eighth installment to the series called Crocodile Tears. He yet again has to save the word, and this time, there is a virus so powerful that it can destroy a country’s resources, and while doing that also making sure he secret doesn’t get out.

The story begins with Alex, Sabina Pleasure, and her dad— Edward Pleasure— going to a party hosted by a millionaire named Desmond McCain in the Highlands of Scotland. Quickly, Alex finds himself in danger as the tire of Edward's car blows on the icy road and they plummet into the deep below-freezing lake. Back in London with his housekeeper and closest friend— Jack— he fights people claiming to be an employer of Major Yu, the main antagonist of the previous story. Long afterward, Alex is taken to Africa and tortured, and a man who he had seen after he had gotten out of the lake saves him. Some of this book reminds me of a movie called “Breakthrough” about a boy who falls into a frozen lake and eventually comes out safe. This is a very good book for people with time on their hands because once you start, you can’t stop reading it.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Sled Dog School by Terry Lynn Johnson

Genre: Middle Grade, Adventure
Source: I purchased a copy.

I remember reading “Ice Dogs” by this author and recommending it to my students. When I brought this one in I didn’t get a chance to read it first. It was checked out and passed around my room. I understand why my students loved it so much.

Matt, the main character struggles with math and knows if he can’t get his grades up he will be put in remedial math. My students hate being in remedial class. I too struggled with math, so even I could identify with Matt.

Matt is given the opportunity of an extra credit project to keep out of the remedial class. He must create and start a business plan. What better way to teach math than through real world experiences. He begins the project creating a “Sled Dog School”. He learns how much he will have to juggle.

I think what kids take away from this is that sometimes they have to ask an adult for help. When I get those kids who are in remedial classes and don’t give it their best because they are embarrassed, I let them know that sometimes even adults must get extra help. I tell them that I had to take remedial math in college and even had to repeat a math class. I want them to understand it is okay as long as they are trying and learning.

I am glad I finally got the opportunity to read this book. This is the perfect book to teach kids problem solving. I loved how it showed how it is sometimes difficult to teach something to others. Just understanding yourself doesn’t mean it is always easy to teach.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Hear The Wolves by Victoria Scott

Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Adventure
Source: I purchased a copy. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I buy books for my students. However, unless they ask for a specific title I choose them based on whether I want to read it. Unfortunately, this addiction has built up my TBR (to be read) pile faster than I can read them. I don't want to hold them back from my students. When they bring the card up to check them out I tell them to let me know their thoughts because I haven't read it yet the results vary. With this book, one of my "I'm not going to read unless you make me" students checked out the book because she liked the cover. She had to read because I gave them the entire period to do nothing but read. She returned the book the next day saying I had to read it. She had read it from cover to cover in one day. I took it home and did the same. This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I kept wondering what I would do if I was in the main character's shoes.  Sloan is left behind while her sister and father go on a trip. This is the first time she has been without one of them beside her in a long time. This is their way of helping her. She sets off to get more fuel to keep her house warm. She meets her teacher at the church and they both check the cellar for the extra supply of fuel only to find it empty. In stumbles Ethan and Mrs. Wade. She has been injured and needs medical help. Sloan goes to the village store to get supplies when Pilot, the store owner's son walks in. Together they will try to get Mrs. Wade to the river to get her to medical help. Along the way they pick up Pilot's abusive father Nash. They are sure they can get Mrs. Wade help until the wolves start stalking them.  

I understood why this student couldn't put this book down. Between the tension amongst the group and the fear of the wolves you had to keep reading to see if they would survive and how. This was a rollercoaster of a ride. I have recommended it to all of my students as one of the best reads of this year.

Friday, March 29, 2019

An Unexpected Adventure by Kandi J. Wyatt

Genre: Middle Grade, Adventure, Fantasy
Source: I purchased a copy. The Opinions expressed here are my own.

Kandi J. Wyatt is one of my favorite authors. There are many reasons for this. One she writes books that my students want to read. I teach middle school and finding books for this in-between group of teens is often difficult. Another reason she is one of my favorites is because no matter what she writes, it is so realistic I have to do some research.  The premise of this story is that four teens are searching for thundereggs on a beach when they find a dragon’s egg.   I immediately had to look up thundereggs to see if they were real, and if so, what they were. My husband and I spent thirty minutes researching thundereggs. We realized we had actually seen these things at shows, but never knew they were called thundereggs.  I loved the trust relationship Kandi built between the kids and their science teacher. Believe it or not, a lot of students will trust their teachers with secrets than they would their own parents. For me this was very true to life.  I love the worlds Kandi creates with dragons. She is one of the best when it comes to this subject matter. It makes everyone who reads her books want their own dragon. In this story the kids have a dilemma. They are trying to protect the dragon from those in higher positions.  The interactions between the kids and the dragon, and with each other develop throughout the story. There is something there that every child who reads this will be able to relate to.  Like all of her other books this is a great beginning to a new series. I am looking forward to the second one which comes out April 9th.

Monday, May 22, 2017

WhipEye by Geoffrey C. Saign

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
Charlie, a thousand-year-old wise-cracking parrot, convinces animal nerd Samantha and her spunky side-kick Jake to save him and two worlds. The two children are hunted by magical Great Ones, and have twenty-four hours to decipher the supernatural staff, WhipEye, and find the courage to stop a traitorous guardian and his enslaved monstrous animals. ... a story about love, nature, wildlife, intuition, and trusting yourself ...

My Thoughts:

If you are looking for something for your middle school child to read this summer then I highly recommend WhipEye.  This book is full of magical adventure.  The author has created characters you love and an antagonist you love to hate.  There is enough adventure to grab that kid who wants lots of action. There is plenty of magic for the fantasy lover, and there is a beautiful alternate world that the kids are drawn into.  Every great magical story has an object that plays an important role.  In the case of WhipEye it is the staff that was given to Samantha.  Will she and her neighbor Jake be able to avoid the evil Magnar and save all of mankind?  I would suggest you read this book and then pass it on to your kids.  I can’t wait to put this on my school shelves.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wonderful Books for the Imagination

Can you See the Magic by Chris Stead  Artwork by Els Dirickx
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

In my opinion, children's books should not just tell a great story, but they should spark the imagination. This is by far my favorite children's book of the new year. I have shared it with several teachers and students at school. It was great fun watching them look around the room and see the owl in the wood grain on my door or the dragon that is on theirs. This book  is great for ALL ages.  I teach middle school and my students loved it. Chris Stead has taken the artwork created by Els Dirickx, and created a story where you must use your imagination to see the magic around you. In this story two young children convince their father to walk around the farm with them to see the magic. The father, like most adults tells them there is no such thing as magic. The children assure him there is. They look at rusty old cars, and burnt pieces of wood.  This has reignited my already big imagination. I have always seen the magic in things. I used to drive my mother crazy with statements like, “Look at the face in the tile mom, it’s an old man with a droopy hat.” Our imagination served us well when we were growing up on our farm. We spent hours looking at the clouds and other items for the magic in them. I am already a fan of Chris Stead’s books. He worked his own magic when he paired up with this artist who creates something she calls Arikai Reverse art. The word Arikai is made from the names of two of her grandchildren Ari and Kai.

To find out more about Chris' books go to:

To find out more about Els Dirickx's artwork go to:

Morty's Travels by Anderson Atlas
Genre: Children, Science Fiction, Adventure
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This is a strange and fun adventure story. Morty likes to play pranks on his dad. One morning he goes outside to find a slug to put in his dad's shoe. Instead, he finds a strange flower. The pollen from it causes him to sneeze and he is transported to another planet. He meets some friendly adventures and even finds a pet. This would make a great bed-time story. The pictures are wonderful.
Find out more about Anderson's work at:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Lug Blast From the North by David Zeltser

Genre: Middle Grade, Action, Adventure
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This second book was just as good as the first book, and a very quick read. I sat down and put it away in and hour.  Lug is awakened one morning by Crazy Crag who wants him to look at something. He pretends to be asleep. Crag wakes his whole family when he fails to wake Lug. Crag wants them to come see something. No one moves until Crag has left and they hear a loud booming noise. Lug and his friends Stony, Echo, and Wooly all climb the mountain to find Crag. What they see is a giant glacier moving really quickly their way.  On their way to find out what they can do to stop it, they find a boy under ice. They thaw him out. He tells them his name is Blast and he lives on the glacier. He tells them the glacier will soon crush their caves and he is offering them a place to stay with him.  A message is sent back to their village as they check out the glacier.

For some reason, Lug just doesn't trust Blast. He soon learns he as a good reason not to. Blast is up to no good and it is up to Lug to figure out a way to stop him and the glacier.  This book is sure to keep students on the edge of their seat flipping pages. I do hope there are more to come in this series.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Youngtimer: Adventures In Time by Glynnis Rogero

Genre: Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Carly is this super smart, nerdy girl who has been recommended to skip two grades.  She decides to do everything in her power to get lower grades so that she can stay at that school with her best friends Patti.  This is just one of the adventures Carly creates in this book.

When Carly's grandfather passes away he leaves her a mysterious letter and wooden box.  The instructions tell her not to open the box until she reads the letter.  She has always been her grandfather's favorite.  She even had a secret knock that allowed her, and her alone,  into his garage/workshop.  She places the box under her bed where it stays until her best friend Patti finds it and pulls it out. She has been asked by her grandfather to wait until she is eighteen to open it.  But, as Patti points out that is six years away. What her grandfather has left her is tucked away in a corner of his workshop. Carly can hardly believe he has left her a time machine.  Carly tries it out while her friend is there in case something goes wrong.  Then she talks her friend into going on a trip.  But, what happens when Carly uses the machine to try to fix a family problem and changes things?  The tension was taut enough I kept thinking, don't do that....what happens if...

Parts of this story reminded me of the movie "Back to the Future" where Marty has to be careful how he changes things because it could have dire consequences.  This is Carly's situation.  Will she make the problem she has at home better or worse?  This is a must read book.  It is full of humor and situations that my middle school students would definitely be able to identify.  I will definitely recommend this book to them.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Playlist of the Ancient Dead – Aaron Frale

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Science fiction, Adventure, Horror
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I can honestly say I’ve never read a book like this.  When Caroline was walking her dog and he kept reacting strangely every time they got near a brick building I knew there was something to the building.  The building has been there for years. When Caroline sees her ex-boyfriend coming down the sidewalk she turns and walks back toward the building. She sees a door, she had not seen before and opens it. Cody catches up with her and she ends up stepping back out, but not before she sees something.  It seems that a government team had found a way in years before and disappeared and so they’ve been waiting all this time for another door to appear. Caroline and her dog are the key.  Another thing that was strange, not in a bad way, but in a unique way was the use of music throughout the book. No I’m not going to tell you what I mean.  I will tell you to expect all kinds of things. There are so many twists and turns in this book it will keep you reading from beginning to end.  This was the first book I had read by this author and I was not disappointed.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Sacrifist by T. Mason Gilbert

Genre: Adult, Adventure/Paranormal
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
Sir Randolph Barrington hires a mountaineer to look for his son who has disappeared, leaving nothing but a lot of blood in the snow on Mt. Kangchenjunga, the third tallest mountain in the world. Was it the fabled yeti? Any witnesses aren't talking. Torleif G√ľnner, who guided the expedition in which Rand disappeared, meets with Dane "Lake" Nielsen and forwards Sir Randolph's terms. Dane has been hiding out at his ranch in Leadville, Colorado since an avalanche accident, but money talks.

Dane and Torleif organize an expedition to find Rand's remains. Before Dane leaves, he receives a strange call from a woman warning him not to go. Meanwhile, the High Lama of a monastery near Kangchenjunga sends his emissary, the Sacrifist, to the Sherpa guide who is heading up the crew used by Dane. The guide agrees to take the Sacrifist along, disguised as a porter for the expedition, but has no idea what the Sacrifist's intentions are. Is he a monk? He doesn't look like one. Besides these competing factions, Sir Randolph has also hired the TV show host of 'Big Game, Big Times' to look for the animal who attacked his son. 

Will Rand or his remains be found? Who will find the beast first? Who will die?

My Thoughts:
The author did an excellent job of showing the different cultures and beliefs. The descriptions were so good you felt like you were on the mountain with the sherpas. As well as being read for entertaiment the book provides a lot of information about mountain climbing and the beliefs of those who live in the area. The story line progresses at a pace that keeps you turning the pages. You really don't want to put the book down for any reason. For that reason I recommend it to those who love adventure with a touch of the paranormal.

Author Bio:
T. Mason Gilbert is a humorist by nature, but his past is not checered. It is more of a chessboard full of strange strategies that worked for him. Before writing novels hehad written jokes for other stand-up comedians, screenplays, and sitcoms. At one time, he was a sidekick for a well-known DJ doing impressions on Los Angeles radio and also did voiceovers for Premier Radio Network. He was a finalist for the ne Mickey Mouse voice in 2009.
His first novel. "The Sacrifist" is an adventure about the hunt for a yeti that is killing climbers in the Himalaya. His second nove, "Poker, Poker: An Erotic Sex Comedy" was written during NaoWriMo 2014 and will be availabe in April of 2015 and published under the pen name of Matt Broseling.
He lives with his wife of 36 years in Orange County, California.

Where you can find him:


Monday, May 4, 2015

Night Buddies Go Sky High by Sands Heatherington

Genre: Children, Adventure, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Crosley the bright red crocodile, who is afraid of water is on another adventure with his best buddy John Degraffenreidt.  Crosley lives under John’s bed and absolutely loves pineapple cheesecakes.  However we learn that the iguana from the last book is actually repelled by the pineapple cheesecake.  This is good as we learn at the beginning of the book that John is about to be turned green by the Iguana. It is Crosley and his pineapple cheesecake to the rescue.
Crosley needs to replenish his supply cheesecakes and so they visit Big Mae and her cheesecake factory.  They find her lying on the floor studying a dot on her ceiling that is slowly moving.  Crosley’s brother, Crenwrinkle has also spotted this suspicious dot in the night sky.  So Crosley and John are off on another program (another way of saying adventure) to determine if this tiny moving speck is a threat or not.

Kids will really love the made up and non-formal language in this book. It makes it more interesting and fun to read.  This is the third book in the series and I have really enjoyed them all.  I am looking forward to the next installment in this series.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Button Hill by Michael Bradford

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Adventure
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Dekker and his little sister Riley have temporarily moved to Button Hill while their mom is taking college classes at night.  They assume they are going to be bored out of their minds living with their Aunt Primrose.  She is  old, smelly and weird.  But, things take a drastic turn when Dekker finds an old clock made out of bones, with a skull for a face in his aunt’s basement.  His first mistake was moving the skull face.  His aunt has told him not to touch it.  When he locks his sister in the basement while playing a game, thing go from bad to worse.  When she doesn’t respond to him he goes into the basement and finds the old well is now open and his sister is gone.  He goes down the well only to find his sister, his neighbor Harper who he kind of likes, and someone who wants to replace him in his world named Cobb.  Dekker and Riley have traveled from Dayside to Nightside.  Dayside is where the living are, and nightside is where the dead are.  Harper has lived in both places.  In Nightside, making a bargain can have severe consequences as Dekker and his sister both find out.  Will they be able to escape Nightside?  Will their Aunt Primrose be able to help? This was a wonderful book.  It was fun to read and creepy at the same time. This is a story of friendship, family, love and sacrifice.  It is the type of book I know my students will love.

About the Author
(Goodreads author picture)

Michael Bradford was born in 1975, in St. Albert, Alberta. He has worked as a grass cutter, waiter, pizza delivery boy, literacy teacher, elementary school vice-principal and published poet. “Button Hill is his first novel. He lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with his wife and two children.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Run Holly Run by Walter Rouzer

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Take one haunted mansion that sits on the Mississippi River, people in the town acting strangely, burned crop circles and top it off with aliens and you have just filled the reading wish list of most middle school kids.

Holly Atwood and her parents have just moved into a mansion. While out walking Holly sees two girls in the attic window of the mansion.  When she returns she sees those same faces in a portrait hanging above the fireplace.  She doesn't understand.  The portrait is over one hundred years old so there is no way she could have seen those faces for real.  There are other strange things happening around town and she feels she needs to get to the bottom of it.  The good thing is her friend Charlie, from college, lives in this same town. He will gladly help her solve this mystery.  I loved the quirkiness and most of all the mystery to this book.  The only thing that saddens me is that it is in ebook format.  This is one of those books I would definitely purchase for my classroom shelves.  I know my students would love it.  All I can do is recommend it to the few who have ereaders.  However, I do whole heartedly recommend it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lug: Dawn of the Ice Age by David Zeltser

Genre: Middle Grade, Adventure
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads
A hilarious middle-grade novel about a misunderstood caveboy perfect for fans of Ice AgeHappy FeetThe Time Warp Trio, and Platypus Police Squad

Lug is a caveboy who would rather paint than club other caveboys. The clan even mocks him, calling him "Little Slug." Like all the other caveboys, Lug must enter the contest to become the clan's next Big Man and attempt to catch the Biggest Beast--even though he would much rather spend his days painting in his secret art cave. When Lug is banished for failing to catch a jungle llama, he thinks he is alone in the world but finds others who believe in him: his clanmate Stony and a new friend, Echo, a girl from a rival clan who can talk to animals and just may be prehistory's first vegetarian/animal rights activist. Together they face even bigger challenges--Lug discovers the Ice Age is coming and he has to bring the warring clans together to save them not only from the freeze but also from a particularly unpleasant migrating pride of saber-toothed tigers. It's no help that the elders are cavemen who can't seem to get the concept of climate change through their thick skulls. With both funny, anachronistic humor, charming characters, and strong themes, Lug, Dawn of the Ice Ageis sure to be a hit with many readers.

My Thoughts:
I knew from the minute I began reading this book that I was gong to love it.  The book starts out like this: "If you are looking at my cave paintings, I have succeeded. If not, we humans are probably extinct. You see, the world began to get colder-- much colder And my clan initially reacted by doing this:

That's right, a whole lot of NOTHING."  The middle of that first page is literally blank.  I kept giggling over it.  The story is about a boy who is not like many of the others in his clan. He is a dreamer, he is artistic and he dares to challenge their belief system. When he is vanished along with another boy, he sees it as somewhat of an advantage. He learns a lot about himself and about true courage. The story, set in stone age time is still very appropriate to kids of today. Themes and issues of friendship,  bullies, fitting in with your peers and your own family are things every kid today can relate to.  I can't wait to put this on my shelf.  I also can't wait for the second book in the series to come out next year.  It is such a quick and easy read.  It is so fun that kids won't realize there are lessons to learn within the pages.  I don't think there are enough stars to give this one, but it definitely goes to the top of my middle grade favorites of the year.

Author Contact:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Adventure
Source: I received a copy form the author in exchange for my honest review.
Book Blurb
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations. 

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves. 

My Thoughts:
I love a book that mixes adventure, mystery and historical facts throughout. Kitty is in Alaska observing humpback whales. She does this from her plane that she pilots. In case you are concerned because you’ve never been to Alaska and think you might not be able to visualize Kitty’s travels, the author has included a map. It is very helpful. Like so many real people Kitty gets caught up in local gold rush stories.

Kitty is a well rounded character. She does carry on a lot of internal dialogue. But, this is a lot like my students.  I hear them talking to themselves as they talk through situations.  It can be annoying at times but it is also spot on.  There is a lot of information throughout this book.  For many people this may be something they don’t like.  As an educator I love books like this.  I just happen to have several quirky students like me that I know will love this book for that reason. Just because I love a book doesn’t mean my students will.  When the author threw in a robbery and a kidnapping I knew that this was a book for my shelves.  There are several other books in this series.  See the links below to learn more about them.

About Iain Reading
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations. He has published 4 books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series.

For more information, go to

You can also find him on:


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Release Day Book Blitz

a Young Adult Paranormal Adventure
published by Patchwork Press
Dead Girl Walking
Forget everything you know about grim reapers.
Princess Ophelia Dacre sneaks out of the castle to visit her boyfriend in secret. A perfect night cut short when she’s brutally murdered.
Ophelia is given the rare chance to become a grim reaper. She must become Leila Bele, cut ties with her old life, and follow the rules of the reapers. Her greatest adventure begins with death.
“Forget everything you know about grim reapers, Ophelia. Humans have it wrong. It’s easier to believe in angels and demons, than to see what’s right in front of you. Who wants to believe the undead walk among us with beating hearts? It would frighten humans. It would probably send many to their graves faster,” Edon said.
Ruth Silver author photo
About the Author: Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of ABERRANT, a young adult dystopian adventure series published by Patchwork Press and Lazy Day Publishing. Silver attended Northern Illinois University and graduated with a Bachelor's in Communication in the spring of 2005. While in college, she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004. Her love of writing led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading, photography, traveling and most of all writing. She loves dystopian, paranormal, and fantasy young adult stories. Ruth has been actively writing since she was a teenager. She currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Morgan Kane Without Mercy – Louis Masterson

Genre: Adult, Western, Action, Adventure
Source: I purchased a copy

I grew up watching westerns on television. I can honestly say that this is the first western novel I’d ever read. It took me back many years. The main character, Morgan Kane is a Teas ranger. He finds himself seeking revenge. While trying to bring a man in, he is forced to kill him. The man’s brother and friends set out to “make things right”. They know his weaknesses for women, alcohol and gambling, and they use these to lure him in. After losing a very large sum of money in a poker game he’s lured onto a train platform by a beautiful woman. Once there he is shot. He falls from the train but doesn’t die. After he heals, his mission is to go after the four people who tried to end his life. This is fast and steady in pace and adventure. The characters are very believable. When I learned that this was translated from Norwegian I was shocked that the author definitely knew what the old west was like here. This is definitely a series to look out for.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ice Dogs – Terry Lynn Johnson

Middle Grade Adventure

When Victoria Secord set out to try to get new lead dogs for her team, she finds herself in trouble. Victoria is a champion dog-sled racer.  Her mother doesn’t think she needs new dogs. But, Victoria wants to win the White Wolf race and feels she can only do this with a few new dogs.  Without letting her mother know her plans, she waits until her mother leaves for work to head out.  She is in unfamiliar territory. She has her map and all of the skills her now deceased father taught her.  Almost to the camp she was heading for she comes across a snowmobile wrapped around a tree. She finds the owner lying in the snow hurt. Once she gets Chris loaded onto the sled, with his directions she heads to his home.  It isn’t long before she realizes they are lost. To make matters worse a blizzard has set in.  It will take everything her father taught her along with help from Chris if they and her dogs are to survive.  The characters were spot on. The author definitely knows how teens think. The plot progressed smoothly enough, with enough heart stopping twists and turns to keep me turning page after page.  The author definitely knows about dog sledding, and Alaska. I felt, as I read, I was there with Victoria, Chris and the dogs along for this adventure. I loved watching the relationship build between Victoria and Chris. This was not a romantic relationship but a relationship that stretched them in ways they had not expected.  I've read books where the characters come across as flat, but this book has very well rounded characters.  It brought out a lot of emotions in me.  This is a book  that I know my students will enjoy as much as I did.  It reminded me a lot of Gary Paulsen’s book Hatchet.  I know the students who have read his books will enjoy this one as well. I look forward to more books by this author.  It is an asset to all classroom shelves.  I am definitely recommending this one to our media specialist.

Disclosure:  I received a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed here are my own and no way influenced by receiving the book.

You can find out more about Terry at:
Her Blog     

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Student Saturday: The Last Thing I Remember - Andrew Klaven

Student Reviewer: Dale Y.
I read the book The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan. It's about a sixteen year old boy who is kidnapped from his room while sleeping, but he did not feel anything...And he wakes up in a chair with straps, strapping both of his feet and hands. There are torture tools on a tray next to him and blood all over his t-shirt. He hears three men talking outside and he hears the one thing he did not want to hear, "kill him", said the boss man. Two men walk through the big metal door, one picks up a needle and says that the poison is strong enough to kill an adult in hours. Luckily he is a black belt and he loosens the straps and hits the guy in the spot no man ever wants to get hit, and he makes the man loosen the rest of these traps, and it's freedom for him. But, he has to escape the compound and run.
I think this is a great book and has many parts where you just want to keep reading.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Collapse: A Survival Thriller by Scott Carleton

Genre: Adult Thriller
Source: Purchased
Pages:  108

From Goodreads:
Based on real-life events this part action-thriller, part cautionary tale, Collapse is the story of one man’s fight to save the ones he loves when the tenuous fibers that hold society together become strained and begin to snap.
Matt Avery is put to the test as his entire city experiences a loss of electricity, failure of lines of communication, and civilian looting and violence. With a wife, daughter, and small circle of friends in his company, Matt’s survival skills and nerve are tested as he fights to protect his home and feed his family in the wake of disaster.
Matt must make difficult life and death determinations that no one ever hopes to face. Matt has been planning for this moment for years, but now that it is upon him, does he really have what it takes to survive?

My Thoughts:

Once I started this book I could not put it down.  I had to read it from beginning to end.  I have my students complete a creative writing assignment each year that puts the world in a position where things do not work and they must find a way to survive.  In this story when power goes out and civilians are told to stay home we see what can really happen.  It is scary to think that people will behave the way they do in the story. Unfortunately, whenever we have had any major catastrophe we see the ugly side of humanity.  The question is, are we really prepared?  I live in Florida and we have hurricanes.  We are told to keep a hurricane kit ready.  I know for a fact that the more time that goes by without a major hurricane the less we follow that directive.  The same goes with people who live in earthquake or fire prone zones.  History has demonstrated that when society hears the tornado sirens or tsunami sirens and nothing happens they get complacent.  With all of the technology we have today, do we rely on it so much that we won’t be able to function or survive?  I recommend this book to everyone.  It is terrifying on one hand and an eye opener on the other.