Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: The Unwanteds

I posted my review for The Unwanteds yesterday on Mundie Moms, but this truly one of those amazing MG reads that I had to also share with you guys on here as well.

Released on: August 30th, 2011 TODAY!
Source: ARC from TLA/publisher, Book from publisher for blog tour/review
5 stars: A Fantastic Read

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.

Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime.

In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.

But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

There's just something about a middle grade book that I love. These books allow my imagination to sore, they take me on incredible adventures, and they make the unbelievable believable. There's something about them that appeals to my inner child or maybe it just reminds me of how magical and exciting it is to open a book and immediately get whisked away to do a whole new world that I never knew existed. Middle grade books are truly appealing and magically to readers of all ages. The Unwanteds is one of those books readers of all ages will fall in love with.

The Unwanteds is a story where the impossible becomes possible. In a world where those who have artist talents are considered Unwanteds, twin brother Alex is an Unwanted, and sentenced to death, while his Wanted brother Aaron is taking off to be trained with the few other intellectual geniuses from their town of Quill. Alex's is in for a huge surprise when he arrives to the Death Farm expecting to meet his doom and instead finds a whole new unimaginable world awaits him.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the unique cast of characters that awaits Alex in Artime. One of my favorites is Mr Today, the magician who created Artime. He's purpose is to teach the children who arrive in his world, to protect themselves and the new world they're now apart of. He's full of wisdom and a few secrets. He sees the potential in each of the kids and excepts nothing but the best from them. I also loved Simber, the talking winged cheetah statue, the talking wolf Gunnar, Octavia, Clive Alex's talking board, Megan, Claire, Lani, Samheed and my list could go on and on. There's such a creative mix of magicians, humans, talking animals and creatures that exist within the pages of The Unwanteds. The characters are so well written and believable, even the bad characters, who's motives I was able to understand.

Alex of course steals the spotlight. He goes on such an incredible journey from feeling second best to believing in himself and his determination is something that I admired about him. His character arc in the story is wonderful and he's someone that a lot of MG readers will really enjoy getting to know. There are so many things I want to gush about with The Unwanteds. The incredible writing, the believable characters, the fantastic world building. One of the things I love about Lisa's writing and The Unwanteds is how everything within the story ties together and the unexpected twists that happen through out the story, and especially towards the end. What an engaging read! From the beautiful, hidden world of Artime to the cast of unforgettable characters, this is a story I want to sit and read again.

Lisa McMann has created an amazing world full of magic with talking animals, talking statues, flying paper dragons, and gave us a thrilling adventure while introducing us to some characters that we'll want to go back and visit again and again. The Unwanteds is a whole new classic fantasy adventure I highly recommend picking up. It's a story that middle grade readers, and readers of all ages will enjoy. I can not wait to read more of this unforgettable series!

* Don't miss Lisa's The Unwanteds Blog Tour stop here on Mundie Moms yesterday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review & SIGNED Giveaway: The Medusa Plot, Cahills vs Vespers Book #1

Published by: Scholastic
Released on August 30th, 2011- TODAY
Source: ARC from publisher to review
Ages: 8 & up
5 stars: A Fabulous New Installment to the 39 Clues Series
Purchase from: Scholastic| Amazon

Are you ready to save the world? The bestselling series returns with an adventure spanning 6 explosive books, 2 secret-filled card packs, and a website that places readers right in the action.

Thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill and his older sister, Amy, thought they belonged to the world's most powerful family. They thought the hunt for 39 Clues leading to the source of that power was over. They even thought they'd won. But Amy and Dan were wrong.

One by one, distress calls start coming in from around the globe. Cahills are being kidnapped by a shadowy group known only as the Vespers. Now Amy and Dan have only days to fulfill a bizarre ransom request or their captured friends will start dying. Amy and Dan don't know what the Vespers want or how to stop them. Only one thing is clear. The Vespers are playing to win, and if they get their hands on the Clues . . . the world will be their next hostage.

An exciting, new, action packed series from the creators of 39 Clues, The Medusa Plot brings together the Cahill family for a thrilling new adventure. The Cahills are the most powerful family in the world, and things look like they're about to change when one day, different family members are kidnapped at various places through out the world. Now their lives hang in the balance of Amy & Dan's hands.

I really liked being thrust right back into the adventurous, mysterious world that is all to familiar to Dan and Amy. The story line was engaging, and full of some surprising twists. I really liked how some of the help Dan and Amy receive came from some unexpected characters. This adventure sends Dan and Amy around the world on the hunt for the famous Medusa painting. If that wasn't bad enough, they've got a time limit or one of their family members who's being held captive gets shot. Vesper One isn't someone they want to mess around with, especially since he's been holding a grudge against the Cahill family for a couple hundred years.

Book 1 is full of action packed scenes, daring adventure and builds up the excitement of what's to come with the rest of the series. I can hardly wait to find out what other assignment Vesper One has instore for Amy and Dan. This is definitely a book that fans of 39 Clues need to pick up!

*Be sure to visit The 39 Clues site and read a sneak peak of Medusa's Plot

Thank you to Scholastic, we're giving away 1 signed copy of The Medusa Plot to one lucky follower! To enter:

- You must have your parents/guardian's permission if you're under 13 yrs old
- Residents of the US only
- 1 entry per person
- This giveaway will end on SEPTEMBER 17th, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vordak the Incomprehensible: Rule The School

Published by: EgmontUSA
Released on: August 23rd, 2011
Source: book from publisher to reviewer
5 stars- Vordak is fabulously evil!
Purchase from: Amazon| Indie Bound

Greetings, goobers! After my latest experiment worked a little too well—transforming my rather fetching figure into something significantly smaller—I’ve been forced to return to those halls of horror better known as . . . school. But going back to junior high may be my greatest opportunity for mayhem in many a month! Try to keep up as I:

• Dramatically defeat the daily dangers of schooldom—even though everyone is against me.
• Strive to win the junior high presidential election by alerting my fellow students to the wonderfulness of Vordak the Incomprehensible, as well as the yuck-ness of my opponent, Marlena Lurchburger.
• Mastermind a catastrophic career day, where that disgusting do-gooder Commander Virtue will finally, fiendishly be foiled.

Fortunately for you, I have recorded every mischievous moment within these carefully crafted covers so that you may bask in my brilliance as I plot to RULE THE SCHOOL . . . and, eventually, THE WORLD! MUAHAHAHAHA!!!

This pint size villain is so incredibly evil, but in such a good way. I'm sure he's not going to enjoy the fact I've called in pint size or evil in a good way. This evil genius is so well written that both adults and MG readers will enjoy reading his books. You don't need to have the desire to want to take over the world or rule the school like Vordak to appreciate his evil, sarcastic charm. There's plenty of laugh out lines, and one liners you'll find yourself wanting to quote, that make this book engaging and fun.

Those who have had to deal with Vordak and his somewhat evil ways will enjoy reading this book. You might even say Vordak has been giving the best pay back ever! *evil laugh* Yes, I'm referring to the fact Vordak finds himself in MIDDLE SCHOOL. I know, I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. What? I'm not mean. Given the chance Vordak would do his evil laugh if any one of us were in his position, which I find highly unlikely since the vast majority of us don't play with age-reversing rays. I know what you're thinking, "serves him right". Well this is Vordak we're talking about and of course he's has an evil, cunning back up plan.... TO RULE THE SCHOOL!

This isn't just any middle school, it's Farding Middle School. Yes, laugh all you want at that name, but they do have a cool mascot, the Farding Ferrett (you can stop laughing now). It's humor like this, that make these books so appealing to readers, especially boys. Girls will enjoy this as well, but I think Vordak will interest even the most reluctant young male reader. Vordak's books are funny, full of satire and though he's evil (in a harmless way, well he doesn't think that but he won't read this so I can say that), his books are ones even I enjoy joy and have started reading with my son, who by the way thinks Vordak is funny.

Vordak books are ones I highly recommend, especially for school reading programs for kids who aren't fond of reading. These books are clean cut, really funny, and they're written in a really engaging way. Vordak's writing will make readers feel like he's addressing them in person. His books aren't just a story, but they will make readers feel like they're part of his plan and there to listen to him. I like that unique approach to reading. To parents and teachers, Vordak's evil is harmless, just don't tell him I said that. He's crafty, well development and down right hilarious. This is a book I can see parent's enjoying as much, if not more than their kids.

If you're one who likes a little evil genesis with a sense of humor, than I recommend going out and picking up Vordak's books. I'm really looking forward to reading more of his books. I think Vordak's next plan to should be to take over the book world. Who doesn't want to read more of his books? In order for him to take over the book world, he'd have to publish quite a few more books. I wonder if he's up for the challenge..... *evil laugh*

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Review: Garfield The Curse of the Cat & Garfield: Fish to Fy

Adapted by: Cedric Michiels
Published by: Papercutz
Released on: May 24th, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
3 stars- It's a Good Fun Read
Purchase from: Amazon

The famed orange cat comes to comics from Papercutz! In the first story “Fish to Fry,” the tables turn on Garfield when he is put on trial by fish everywhere for his crimes against aquatic life (namely stealing them out of fish bowls). Also featuring the stories “Family Picture” and “Nice to Nermal” with Garfield, Odie, Nermal, Jon and more!

When I first received these books, I wasn't sure what to except. Part of me was hoping for the old school traditional Garfield that I grew up with. While it's taken me a little bit to get used to computer animated Garfield, I love that he's still the same ole' laid back cat he's always been.

Adapted from the all new Garfield TV series, this book includes stories directly from show and includes Family Portrait, Nice to Nermal, and Fish to Fry. I grew up watching Garfield and ended up being one of hundreds of kids who adored this fun, sarcastic, laid back cat. I like that they've brought him back for a whole new generation to love him.

Keeping in line with the tv series, I like that the books have the same story line and include images from the show. The book is easy to read and follow and the lay out reminds me of a Sunday comic strip with the way it reads. Despite not liking it as much as I had hoped to, I feel fans of Garfield will enjoy picking up these fun, easy to read books.

Adapted by: Cedric Michiels
Published by: Papercutz
Released on: May 24th, 2011
Source: publisher for review
4 stars- I Liked It. It's A Fun Read
Purchase from: Amazon

In this second collection of three Garfield stories from Papercutz, Garfield and Odie are transported by a magic mirror to an alternate-universe of Ancient Egypt where cats rule the world! Hilarity ensues when Garfield uses his wit to get himself named Pharaoh! Also featuring “The Pet Show” and “Bone Diggers” starring Garfield, Odie, Nermal, Jon and more.

This is definitely my favorite of the two books in the series. Adapted from the all new Garfield TV series, this book includes stories directly from show and includes The Curse of The Cat People, Pet Show and Bone Diggers. I grew up watching Garfield and ended up being one of hundreds of kids who adored this fun, sarcastic, laid back cat. I like that they've brought him back for a whole new generation to love him.

Keeping in line with the tv series, I like that the books have the same story line and include images from the show. The book is easy to read and follow and the lay out reminds me of a Sunday comic strip with the way it reads. Fans of Garfield will enjoy picking up these fun, easy to read books.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Review: Michael Vey, The Prisoner of Cell 25

I posted this same review yesterday on Mundie Moms, but I really feel this is a book that is not only great for YA readers, but a perfect fit for older MG readers, which is why I'm also sharing my review here on Mundie Kids.

Released on: August 9th, 2011
Source: ARC/book from publisher to review
4 stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon| Barnes & Noble

My name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange. Very strange. It’s my story.
To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.

Michael thinks he's unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor also has special powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up this way, but their investigation brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric children – and through them the world. Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers, and friends if he’s to survive.

A fast paced, entertaining read with an engrossing story line and well developed characters. Richard Paul Evans introduces fans to an unlikely hero with an extraordinary gift.

One of the things I liked about Michael Vey is how down to earth he is. When I first met him I felt bad for him. He's just a normal teen who's trying to fit into his Meridian, Idaho high school, has a great nerdy best friend, and gets bullied by Jack and a few of his friends, but there's so much more to Michael than meets the eye. At first the mother side of me wanted to teach Michael to stand up for himself towards Jack and the annoying school principal, but I quickly learned that he's more than capable of taking care of himself. Ugh, Michael's high school principal infuriated me! I seriously wanted to get into his face, and I know I shouldn't say that, but his character is just one of those characters who gets on your bad side from the start.

The story really picks up after a turn of events that had me fist pumping the air over something Michael does. Not only does Michael's secret get revealed that he's tried so hard to keep hidden, but after seeing what he can do, the beautiful cheerleader Taylor, whom Michael has a crush on has a secret of her own that she wants to share it with him. Taylor and Michael share a similar secret and the powers they have are amazing. Too bad for them they're the last two kids of their kind that haven't been found and all that's about to change. I really like Michael, Taylor and Michael's best friend Ostin. Yeah, that's Austin, but his mother spelled his name wrong so it's Ostin. It's the settle humor like that, that makes this story great for middle grade, YA and adult readers.

As the storyline progresses, the characters themselves become more in-depth and I really enjoyed reading about them. Taylor for example is a totally awesome cheerleader who's fun, outgoing and thoughtful to all those around her. I really liked how Richard worked in the different class structures and stereotypes that are present in high school. It made all the characters, including the secondary ones believable, and relatable. The dialogue between the characters was also very well written, and exactly what you'd except to hear in a high school setting. It was realistic and snarky at times which made the story that much more enjoyable.

Now for the great plot. I won't say too much so I don't give anything a way, but I like the unique electrical powers the group of kids, who are similar to Michael. There's a lot of mystery and secret cover ups keeping them hidden from the outside world. Over the course of the story, I liked how their different friendships formed, their betrayals and the way each of their situations were described. Ostin for me is the one that shocked me the most. He's one nerd no one wants to mess with, and I'm so intrigued with his thought process and the things he comes up with. He's an awesome best friend to Michael. The other thing I really liked about the story is how Michael deals with his Tourette Syndrome. It made me admire him that much more, because he didn't feel the need to hide it or the things that it made him do, like blink a like. It was apart of him and when asked about it, he openly talked about it.

I think this is going to be a fabulous new series by Richard Paul Evans. It's exciting, full of action, snark, unique powers and has a group of teens who are worth reading about. It's a clean cut book that middle grade and younger YA readers will enjoy. I should say I'm neither a MG or "young" YA reader and I enjoyed it. It's a book that boys will really enjoy and girls will like reading. I definitely recommend picking this one up.


Thank you to Simon & Schuster, we have an awesome giveaway! We are giving away 1 copy of Michael Vey and 1 audiobook of Michael Vey. Two winners will be drawn, the 1st will receive the book, the 2nd winner the audiobook.

To Enter:
- please fill out the form below
- if you're under 13 yrs old, you MUST have your parent's permission to enter this giveaway
- this open to residents in the US only
- 1 entry per person
- this giveaway will end on September 9th, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: Shark Wars

By: EJ Altbacker
Published by: Razorbill
Released on: June 28th, 2011
Source: ARC from publisher to review
Ages: 9-12
4 stars- A Fun, Action Packed Read
Purchase from: Amazon| Barnes & Noble

Since the dawn of time, prehistoric shark clans called Shivers have ruled over the earth's oceans, fierce protectors of all who swim. For eons, the Big Blue has prospered under Shiver Law, and the delicate balance of sea life kept sacred. Until now.

Rising sea temperatures and overfishing have caused food to become scarce, and the battle for new hunting grounds has brought with it corruption and warfare.

Now, with the ocean on the brink of chaos, a young reef shark named Gray - exiled from the safety of his peaceful reef home - must venture deep into Open Water to unlock the secrets of his destiny and bring peace back to the ocean. But first, he'll have to discover the truth about who - and what - he really is.

This is a great action packed, under water adventure that centers around sharks. If you have ever wondered what really goes on a in sharks world, than Shark Wars will have your answer.

Gray is a typical reef shark, or so he thought. He and his friends live with the Coral Shiver, a clan of sharks, but when Gray is banned for not following rules, he finds himself in the middle of a large ocean that's full of excitement and danger. Things change for Gray when he's is taken in by the Goblin Shiver, ruled by Goblin. He becomes blinded by the things these mean sharks are doing and he gets a first hand taste at betrayal, treachery and just how far some sharks will go to get what they want.

Gray is a shark that's easy to like, despite some of the poor decisions he makes. He has a great character arc through out the story and in the end he learns a powerful lesson about making the right choice and friendship. Gray has some fabulous friends who have come together to form the Rogue Shiver, and I really enjoyed getting to meet them. One of my favorite characters is Takiza, the beta fish who's wisdom and advice to Gray remind me of Yoda from Star Wars. He also has some mad fighting skills.

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this story. This is one exiting, action packed, fast paced story that takes readers into a whole new underwater world. These's battles, a fabulous underwater setting, and a large cast of great shark characters. I also like that on both inside covers of the book are pictures of the sharks, and other sea animals that are apart of the story, along with their names. It makes it easy for readers to connect with the characters. I should say this was done on the ARC, so I'm not sure if this made it into the final copy of the book.

I think Shark Wars is book that will appeal to boys and readers who enjoy a great adventure. I'm looking forward to finding out what's in store for Gray and his friends when the sequel is out later this fall.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review: The Great Race

Written & Illustrated By: Kevin O'Malley
Published by: Bloomsbury Kids
To Be Released on:
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 5 & up
4 stars- It's A Fun Read
Purchase from: Amazon| Barnes & Noble

Nate Tortoise is tired of living in the shadow of Lever Lapin. He can't go anywhere or do anything without hearing about the great exploits of that pesky hare. And Lever's head has grown to match the size of his entourage. It isn't until Nate challenges Lever to a race that this hare is put in his place . . . giving new meaning to the phrase "slow and steady wins the race." Kevin O'Malley fans will cheer all the way to the finish line for this clever twist on the beloved fable.

This is really fun, updated retelling of a beloved tale, The Tortoise and the Hare.

Nate Tortoise is trying to enjoy a peaceful meal when the quiet restaurant he's eating at turns into excitement over the entrance of Lever Lapin. Lever claims to be the greatest, fastest racer around. He's also not very humble or as smart as Nate, so when Nate challenges him to a race he gladly accepts.

This race is much like the classic story. The hare, Lever Lapin is speedy and leaves Nate in the dust. Unlike the hare who falls asleep, Lever Lapin can't pass up an opportunity to talk about himself with his fans. In so doing he misses his chance to beat Nate at race that clearly was one Lever should have won.

I think this is story that elementary school aged kids would enjoy, as well as parents. Kevin adds enough humor to the story for adults to enjoy, and keeps his text and story to a length that will keep young readers engaged with his story.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Aphrodite the Diva Blog Tour: Author Guest Post & Giveaway!

Thank you to The Teen Scene, we have a guest post with authors Suzanne Williams & Joan Holub talking about their ten favorite foods:

Suzanne: If I were a goddess ambrosia and nectar would top the list. But since I’m not, here’s my top ten (in no particular order): Dove dark chocolates, homemade cherry pie, a BLT with garden-fresh lettuce and tomatoes, a good salad (one with lots of stuff on top), sushi, pizza, salmon, dim sum, fresh-baked bread, and guacamole. Yum!

Joan: In GG, we have fun doing spins on the foods Suzanne mentioned, like nectaroni or nectarpops, for instance. As for me--cookies, chocolate, yogurt, strawberries, pizza, salad, cheese, olives, hummus, bread products of all kinds.

You can read my 4 star review here. Thank you Joan and Suzanne, we have 1 copy of Aphrodite the Diva to giveaway!

In book 6, an exchange student from Egypt, Isis, is encroaching on Aphrodite's match-making turf. Will she also edge Aphrodite out of her group of friends?

These classic myths from the Greek pantheon are given a modern twist that contemporary tweens can relate to, from dealing with bullies like Medusa to a first crush on an unlikely boy.

Goddess Girls follows four goddesses-in-training: Athena, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Artemis and their friends as they navigate the ins and outs of divine social life at Mount Olympus Academy, where the most privileged gods and goddesses of the Greek pantheon hone their mythical skills.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Review: Wildwood, The Wildwood Chronicles Book #1

Illustrated by: Carson Ellis
To Be Released on: August 30th, 2011
Source: ARC from publisher to review
Ages: 8 & up
5 stars- This Is A Must Read

Prue McKeel's life is ordinary. At least until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland. No one's ever gone in—or at least returned to tell of it.

So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater, as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

Colin Meloy's Wildwood is a spellbinding, enticing story that creatively blends together the "what if" with magic, fantasy and an unforgettable adventure. Colin is a masterful story teller who will whisk readers away with his enchanting story, and incredible world.

If I already wasn't sold on the premise of this book, and the beautiful artwork on the cover, the setting would have had me. Being from the Northwest, I have a huge soft spot for books set there and I loved this setting. I liked how Colin created a magical world set in the middle of the woods. Growing by near some woods, I often wondered what really lies in the middle of the woods and Wildwood's magical adventure finally gave me my answer. A lot of things happen. There's a whole world full of myths, danger, adventure, secrets, and magic.

I've never felt compelled to compare another story with The Chronicles of Narnia, like I have with Wildwood. Both stories have that same classic fantasy feel, talking creatures, adventure, good vs evil battle and rooted into the story's rich plot, a wonderful message. Both stories have a rich story line, strong well written characters who along their journey discover more about themselves, and a fascinating, secret world that lies hidden within our own modern day one. Along with Colin's mesmerizing story telling are breathtakingly beautiful illustrations that match the story perfectly from well know artist Carson Ellis. These illustrations alone are completely captivating.

Wildwood is a thrilling new fairytale that has the same charm and appeal of the classic fairytales I grew up with. This is absolutely one of my most favorite MG reads for 2011! It's a story that can be read as a family, individually or in a classroom, as there are so many elements that can be openly discussed. Wildwood is a book I highly recommend picking up. I'm eagerly awaiting to read more of this series.


Visit their website: Wildwood Chronicles, their Blog, on Facebook. You can also read the first 4 chapters here!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blog Tour & Book Review: Goddess Girls, Aphrodite The Diva

By: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams
Published by: Simon & Schuster Kids
Released on: August 9th, 2011
Source: book from the author for review
Ages: 8-12
4 stars- I love this series
Purchase From: Amazon| Barnes & Noble

In book 6, an exchange student from Egypt, Isis, is encroaching on Aphrodite's match-making turf. Will she also edge Aphrodite out of her group of friends?

These classic myths from the Greek pantheon are given a modern twist that contemporary tweens can relate to, from dealing with bullies like Medusa to a first crush on an unlikely boy.

Goddess Girls follows four goddesses-in-training: Athena, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Artemis and their friends as they navigate the ins and outs of divine social life at Mount Olympus Academy, where the most privileged gods and goddesses of the Greek pantheon hone their mythical skills.

I really adore this series. The Goddess Girls is a fun series that allows young readers a chance to get to know the young Greek Goddess and Gods, while sharing empowering messages with it's readers. In past books the messages have been about being true to yourself, loyalty, being strong, being a true friend and being proud of who you are. With each book, the characters deal with much of the same things or similar things their readers do. These young Gods and Goddess learn to deal with fitting in, first crushes, new friendships, dealing with bullies, school life and finding out who they are. I love that as the series continues, we not only see more of the characters, but with each new book a different Goddess Girl tells the story.

I adore Aphrodite! Aphrodite is the school's main diva and resident match maker. Aphrodite gains a new rival, who's just a good at match making as she is when Isis from Eygpt arrives. Aphrodite and Isis have a lot of the same qualities and while they're both competing against each other, they don't stoop to the level of being mean towards each other. I really admired that about the two characters. Even with all the rumors that are going around about them, they still maintain a level of respect towards each other which keeps their competition friendly, when it could have quickly become turned into something ugly.

I really enjoyed getting to know Aphrodite. She definitely reminds me of friends I had in school who wanted to match their friends up with boys they thought were cute. Aphrodite does a great job with her matches. She's a fun character to get to know. I'm hoping we'll get to see if her matches are still going strong as the series continues. I love that this series keeps the romantic part of the story very age appropriate. It's refreshing to see how these sweet, innocent crushes can turn into something a little more. This is a series I'd recommend to readers 8 & older. It's clean cut, fun and one that parents don't have to worry about what kind of subject matter their kids are reading. I'm looking forward to having my daughter read this series.

Here's a complete list of books you can find in The Goddess Girls Series:

Goddess Girls series, ages 8-12, Aladdin paperbacks
#1 Athena the Brain
#2 Persephone the Phony
#3 Aphrodite the Beauty
#4 Artemis the Brave
#5 Athena the Wise (April 2011)
#6 Aphrodite the Diva (August 2011)
#7 Artemis the Loyal (Dec 2011)
#8 Medusa the Mean (April 2012)

To follow the rest of the Aphrodite The Diva blog tour, please go here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Review: The Trap (The Magnificent Twelve #2)

To Be Released on August 23rd, 2011
Source: ARC from publisher to review
Ages: 10 & up
4.5 stars- I Really Enjoyed This Book

In the thrilling second book of the Magnificent 12 series, Mack MacAvoy is challenged by his spectral mentor, Grimluk—who only appears in the shiny chrome pipes of bathrooms.

Mack must find the ancient ones, the great forgotten forces.

Time is short! The wicked Pale Queen’s three-thousand-year banishment ends in thirty-five days, and she will be free to destroy the world. It’s up to Mack to stop her return. But what do all of Grimluk’s clues mean? Can Mack achieve everything he must do without getting killed by the evil Risky—and escape the trap?

The Magnificent 12: The Trap is another fast-paced episode in bestselling author Michael Grant’s hilarious fantasy-adventure series.

A fast paced, action packed adventure with some unforgettable characters, The Trap is a wonderful sequel to The Magnificent Twelve. Michael Grant has created a series that whisk's readers into a fabulous world mixed with a rich mythology, intriguing mythological characters and creates a story line that's both fun and engaging.

This time Mack and his friends travel from China to Germany in their continued quest to find the rest of The Magnificent Twelve and defeat the Pale Queen. Along the way they meet or should I say get attacked by some rather interesting characters. One of my favorite new characters is Xiao, who's also featured on the front of the book. I loved being introduced to Xiao and her dragon family. I was really surprised with how much Mack has grown as a character. While he still deals with all his phobias, he's also learned to think things through more. Mack also provides a lot of the comical relief in the story with his tongue in cheek comments. I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times. Stefan's character keeps getting better and better.

I like that the world of The Magnificent Twelve continues to become much more creative. New characters are introduced, and like the first book, The Trap has a great back story that parallel's with Mack's adventures via the story's bad guy. I like the way Michael Grant introduces Nine Iron, and allowed me to see why he's bad, and why he's after Mack. The Trap is a fabulous addition to a series I highly recommend picking for MG readers. There's a lot more humor in it, the characters have become much more in-depth, and the action is non-stop.

Head over to Mundie Moms, as we've got a great blog tour stop with Mack today!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Review: Blue Chicken

Written & Illustrated By: Deborah Freedman
Published by: Viking/Penguin Books
To Be Released on September 15th, 2011
Source: ARC from publisher to review
Ages 3 & up
5 stars- It's A Great Read
Purchase from: Penguin| Amazon| Barnes & Noble

In this deceptively simple picture book, author-illustrator Deborah Freedman has created an irresistible character that springs to life and wreaks havoc in a farmyard with a pot of blue paint. The innocent chicken just wants to help, but things get worse and worse-and bluer and bluer--the more she tries. Playing with colors and perspective, and using minimal text, this richly layered story reveals new things to see and laugh about with each reading.

This is such a delightfully, fun, creative read. I love the way Deborah brings her story to life through her illustrations. By creating a story that is centered on a painting and then bringing that painting to life within the story is both clever and engaging. It's also unique, as there aren't many children's books I've read that have done this.

Blue Chicken is a story who's illustrations tell most of the story. When a curiously little chicken decides to scamper out of the drawing and over to the jar of blue paint, chaos ensues as everything from the chickens, the duck, the cow, the flowers and the white barn become blue. Looking for away to quickly fix the problem duck and chicken knock over a jar of water which restores everything to their proper colorings.

This adventure is one my children loved and I enjoyed reading along with them. The illustrations are charming, lively and engaging. I'd highly recommend picking this book up when it's out. It's one that will be a huge hit with children of all ages and perfect for school and home settings.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Interview with Kat, Incorrigible author Stephanie Burgis

Today I'm thrilled to have debut author, Stephanie Burgis on Mundie Kids talking about her recent release Kat, Incorrigible. This is a great MG and one I highly recommend picking up. You can read my review here.

Kat is such a delightfully, fun character to get to know. What's one thing that surprised you the most with her character?
The real emotional vulnerability at her heart. She's so confident and over-the-top, she just swaggered right into my imagination and started dictating her story, which was full of lots of humor and adventure...but it was startling to suddenly realize, as I wrote, how much emotional vulnerability really hid behind her exuberance.

I fell in love with your setting. What is something you like most about the early turn of the century England?
Honestly, I love all the rigid social rules...because it's so much fun (for me) to watch Kat break them!

Is there a part of England that inspired your story? If so, do you have a picture you could share with us?
There absolutely is! I was living in Leeds (in Yorkshire) when I wrote KAT, INCORRIGIBLE, which is why Kat lives in Yorkshire, too. I didn't base her home village on any one particular Yorkshire village, but she and her family spend most of the book at "Grantham Abbey", which is my fictionalized version of Bolton Abbey, a very real place. When I lived in Leeds, my husband and I visited Bolton Abbey regularly - the estate is owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire but is open to the public now, so dogwalkers, picnickers and even swimmers can ramble around the grounds, swim in the river and explore the abbey ruins. I've got a whole flickr set of photos here.

If you could revert back to your twelve year old self, and spend the day with Kat, what is one thing you'd want to do?
I'd love to just hang out and laugh with her - and it would be so much fun to get swept into one of her wild adventures!

What inspired Kat's story?
I've always loved the novels of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, and in several of them, the romantic heroine has a much-younger sister who pops up only long enough to say something snarky and completely disrespectful. I thought it would be so much fun to write a novel where the youngest sister got to be the REAL heroine, having fabulous magical adventures while her older sisters are distracted by romance.

We love receiving book recommendations from authors. Do you have either a childhood favorite and a recently read children's book you'd recommend we pick up?
I just finished reading Maryrose Wood's THE INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE: THE MYSTERIOUS HOWLING, and I *loved* it. I haven't laughed so much over a book in ages! I definitely recommend it.

That's a fabulous MG read! Your pictures are beautiful! Thank you so much for being with us today Stephanie!
Thanks for having me here, Katie!

You can follow all of Stephanie's latest news by visiting her blog, following her on twitter, and visiting her website.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Unwanteds Special Offer!

You do not want to miss this AWESOME event! On August 30th, Changing Hands Bookstore is hosting a TWEEN event with the lovely Lisa McMann at 7 pm! If I could attend this event, I'd be there in a heartbeat. I adore Lisa and this book is a MUST HAVE!

Guess what?! You don't have to be at the event to join in on this special offer! The 1st 100 orders either placed at Changing Hands or pre-ordered before August 25th will RECEIVE:
  1. Hardcover copy of The Unwanteds personalized for you by Lisa McMann
  2. Original illustration, "The Eliminators," by McMann's son Kilian, hand-signed, dated, and numbered by the author on 4" x 6" matte card stock
  3. Oval Unwanted sticker
  4. Sillybandz "invisible" paintbrush
Prizes are limited to the first 100 readers, so pre-order online now or call 480-730-0205.

Can't make it?
For $22 (includes taxes and shipping) we'll ship your prize pack anywhere in the country. Extra for international shipping. Please call for details: 480-730-0205.

PLEASE NOTE: Be sure to include the name of the person you'd like Lisa to personalize the book for in the "Order Comments" field at the bottom of the checkout page.

Visit the Changing Hands link here for more information and to order The Unwanteds!

Book Review: Prudence Wants A Pet

By Cathleen Daly
Illustrated by Stephen Michael King
Published by Roaring Book Press
Released on June 21st, 2011
Ages 4-7
Source- book from publisher to review
4 stars- It's A Cute Story
Purchase from: Amazon| Barnes & Noble

Prudence wants a pet. Desperately. "No," says Dad, "pets cost too much to keep."
"No," says Mom, "pets make noise."But Prudence is determined. She finds her own pet. It is a...branch. But Branch isn't exactly the pet of her dreams, and neither are Twig, Mr. Round (a car tire), or her baby brother Milo. Poor Prudence. Will she ever find the perfect pet?

A cute story that caused a lot of laughter and has some great illustrations.

Prudence desperately wants a pet, and no matter how many times she asks she's constantly told no. Using her imagination, Prudence decides to adopt various things around her house and make them her pet, and in the end a tree branch, a shoe, her little brother and even a tire aren't very fun pets. Who doesn't want to have a loyal campion with them?

This is a delightful read that kids will really enjoy. It's a story both kids and some adults alike will be able to relate to. Especially if you're someone who grew up wanting a pet. I enjoyed how inventive Prudence was in trying to find the perfect pet. Even though her tree branch, the shoe, her little brother and everything else she finds end up not being the pet she wanted, she's finally granted the perfect pet from her parents for her birthday. With the endless possibilities on what it could be, you'll have to go pick up Prudence's story to find out what she received. I can tell you it's not a branch, a shoe, her little brother or a tire.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~