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review 2018-05-23 03:53
A Crack in the Sea by H. M. Bouwman
A Crack in the Sea - H.M. Bouwman

 

This book is a bit complicated. The story is told through the tales of three sets of siblings: Venus & Swimmer escape from a slave ship in 1781 and end up in the Second World, Kinchen & Pip live in the Second World, and Thanh & Sang are trying to escape Vietnam with a few relatives, in the First World in 1976. 

 

When Pip is taken by the Raft King, Kinchen must find and protect her younger brother. At one point, other characters tell the story of Venus and Swimmer and their journey. Then we learn about Pip's experiences on Raftworld. Other characters are sprinkled throughout and we eventually meet Thanh & Sang and follow their adventure.

 

This book combines fables and magic with historical fiction. The Vietnamese family is trying to escape what is left of their country after the war in Vietnam. The original colonists of the Second World are escapees from slave ships who used magic to find a portal through from the First World. Inhabitants of the Second World include a large group of people who live on a group of connected rafts, islanders, sea monsters, people who can talk to sea creatures, and others who can walk through water.

 

I found this book overly long and it had difficulties keeping my attention. The child characters are too similar and I found myself forgetting who was who. The story will appeal to some kids, but I don't think it will be overwhelmingly popular.

 

Recommended to:  Middle School students who enjoy complex tales with multiple characters and a bit of magic.

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review 2018-05-09 04:23
Overboard (Survivor Diaries) by Terry Lynn Johnson
Survivor Diaries: Overboard! - Terry Lynn Johnson,Jani Orban

 

"Tell me how you survived the whale attack," the reporter said.

- opening lines

 

Could you survive if the whale watching boat you were on capsized and you were left floating in the cold ocean? Travis and Marina are in just such a situation. Luckily, Travis is wearing an immersion suit, and Mariana has survival supplies in her vest (and a lot of knowledge). All they have to do is stay out of the water, find land, and get rescued. Simple, right?

 

So, this is a good book, but the plot is a little thin. Things resolve a bit too easily for me, but I don't think kids will mind. At the end of the book, there is a section with "U.S. Coast Guard-Approved Cold Water Survival Tips" which kids will probably find very cool and informative.

 

It's about 100 pages, easy to read and about survival, kids will love it.

 

Recommended to: Grades 3-5 (and some second graders), fans of the I Survived series, adventure fans, reluctant readers

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review 2018-05-09 02:51
The Eureka Key by Sarah L. Thomson
The Eureka Key - Sarah L. Thomson

 

Sam's eyes were on the clock: 9:54.

- opening line

In this series, Sam and Martina use their brains and skills to solve puzzles that will help find an invention that could save or destroy our nation. After winning a contest, they are on a trip across the country, but it quickly turns into something far more important and dangerous. The founding fathers left clues to seven "keys" that will unlock Benjamin Franklin's greatest invention, but, sinister forces are also searching for the keys. Sam and Martina get along like oil and water, but they must learn to work together to solve the difficult puzzles and avoid booby traps to find the keys first.

 

In this book (the first in the series), Sam and Martina are looking for Ben Franklin's key. Throughout the book, we learn different facts about Franklin (thanks to Martina's vast knowledge). Most of the story takes place underground as the kids evade the bad guys and try to survive the dangerous puzzles/traps. The keys are vitally important and failing to solve the puzzles could lead to death. Sam and Martina didn't sign up for this, but they are determined to find the keys and thwart the bad guys.

 

This is a fun adventure/mystery story. Kids who enjoy solving puzzles or have an interest in history will love this book. There are three books in the series so far, but I'm assuming there will eventually be seven (for the seven keys). The keys are not all literal keys like Ben Franklin's key - each one relates to the founding father who hid it. The second book to Thomas Jefferson's Eagle's Quill, and the third to Alexander Hamilton's Ring of Honor.

 

Recommended to: Ages 9-13, fans of history and adventure stories.

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review 2018-05-09 01:34
The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst
The Girl Who Could Not Dream - Sarah Beth Durst,Soneela Nankani

 

The dreamer controls the dream.

 

Imagine having a friendly monster as your best friend and protector. Sophie's parents own a dream shop in the basement of their bookstore where they secretly sell liquid dreams. Sophie's best (and only) friend is a cupcake loving monster named Monster, who she once pulled out of a dream. Monster is a bit sarcastic and a lot over protective, but he would do anything for Sophie. Then, Mr Nightmare arrives, the shop is robbed, and Sophie's parents go missing. With the help of Monster, some new friends, and some fierce, but friendly creatures, Sophie just might be able to find and save her parents.

 

This is an enchanting and quirky story that reminds us it's okay to be different. And our most courageous friends may look all fluffy and cute on the outside, but they have fierce hearts. 

 

I listened to the audio and the narrator was excellent. I loved the voice she used for Monster. I highly recommend the book and the audio. 

 

Recommended to: Ages 9-13, fans of fantasy and adventure stories. 

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review 2018-04-29 00:06
Quidditch Through The Ages by JK Rowling - Audiobook read by Andrew Lincoln
Quidditch Through the Ages - J.K. Rowling

Quidditch Through the Ages is isn’t exactly fiction in the sense of telling a story: it’s the fictional history of the very old, very traditional, and very popular magical sport on flying broomsticks conjured up for JK Rowling’s famous Harry Potter series. The sport itself consists of 7 wizards and witches per team, with your typical goalie/keeper, three chasers, two defenders/beaters, and one very special position called the Seeker which is basically Rowling’s way of making Harrry Potter the most interesting and special and remarkable of all wizards in his year, because although he’s basically a skinny runt orphan in glasses he is now also a jock.

 

Seriously the position of Seeker is purely to make Harry the most important member on the team, because they don’t do anything except catch the elusive Golden Snitch and win 150 points, ending the game, but can you even imagine having a basketball team or a football team where one player doesn’t actually play as part of the team, is responsible for ending the match, and gets all the glory? Not very sportsmanlike, but then again, the wizarding community is very strange.

 

It was interesting to hear about the very beginnings of the game and how it evolved, how the beaters and bludgers were introduced and then the utterly ridiculous position of Seeker. I was intrigued by the thorough history by the pseudo-author Kennilworthy Wisp and his great skill at research and ability to access rare information… in this imaginary world of Harry Potter, that is…

 

The audiobook itself was very good, with sound effects used to great effect to enhance the narrative. Andrew Lincoln did a fine job narrating, and even taking on different accents and voices for the different characters quoted.

 

Also added in was some bonus content for the 2014 Quidditch World Cup which I found very amusing, ‘written’ by Ginny Potter, with a commentary on the Final including Rita Skeeter. The whole thing ended up being very exciting and sounding like a real sporting match.

 

I really wish Rowling would write one for 2018, and if she has, can someone link it to me? All I can find when I google for it is the stupid sport muggles play running on the ground with broomsticks between their legs which Albus Dumbledore himself said was incredibly imbecilic and should not, under any circumstances, be played.

 

Stupid muggles.

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