Thursday, March 29, 2012

John Adams: The Voice Heard 'Round the World by Marian R Carlson

CD Narrated by: David McCullough
Published by: Schoolmaster Press
Released on: February 22nd, 2011
Source: CD and book from publisher to review
Ages: all
5 Stars: I HIGHLY Recommend
Purchase from: Schoolmaster Press

Where would American be without John Adams?

This is the essential chapter in the John Adams story that tells of his vision and courage in making The Declaration of Independence happen. Marked for hanging by King George III, Adams risked his life to secure "Independence Forever" for America. Aided by the strong support of his wife, Abigail, Adams spoke up in the Continental Congress in Europe with a "Voice Heard 'Round the World." His dedication to the cause of American freedom separated him from his family for ten long years. -quoted from the back of the book

This is a fantastic history through music series that Scholastic has started and one I highly recommend checking out. John Adams: The Voice Heard 'Round The World not only teaches readers and listeners about the history of the birth of our nation, but gives a brief, well told story about John Adams, one of the great leaders in American history. Narrated by David McCullough, and music accompanied by the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, this is a CD that families, classes and fans of history of any age can enjoy. 

The CD is fabulous! The music really sets the tone for David's narrations and it's one that's both engaging and entertaining. Though the companion book that comes with the CD is short, it's full of fascinating facts about the draft of The Declaration of Independence, the birth of our country and is a richly detailed short story that describes the kind of leader and man John Adams was. I really enjoyed the illustrations and the quotes that are featured through out the book as well. This book and CD will truly be a huge hit with parents, kids, educators and librarians. It's one that's perfect for having at home, for home school curriculum and class rooms settings. I think John Adams himself would be pleased with this tribute to him.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rise of the Guardians Trailer

I can not wait for this! I have totally fallen in love with this book series from William Joyce, and I'm thrilled it's coming to the big screen.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Review: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is a weekly feature started by MG author Shannon Messenger and is a weekly post featuring an upcoming MG release, a MG Author Interview or a MG review. You can find out more about this series posts, and find links to author authors and bloggers who are taking part in this feature here. You can also my Must Have Middle Grade Readsfeature on Mundie Moms.

Published by: Scholastic
To Be Released on: April 1st, 2012
Source: book from publisher, ARC from ALA Midwinter
Ages: 10 & up
5 stars: I LOVED IT!
Pre-Order from: ScholasticAmazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
Series: Book #1 in The Ascendance Trilogy

The False Prince is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end. 

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well. As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together. An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats -quoted from Goodreads

I absolutely love it when I can get completely swept away in a well written middle grade fantasy. That was the case with The False Prince. What an amazing fantasy adventure. The characters, the setting, the story, everything came together perfectly and was so well written. I still can't get over that shocking twist and that fabulous ending! This is one of those books that left me wanting so much more after I read it! I can't wait to see what awaits the characters in the next book. This particular story is centered on Sage, a young orphan who was bought than trained to possibly become an impersonator for King's long lost son. I loved this character. He's relatable, he's real, and he's sympathetic to those around him. I of course also loved that he's feisty, brave, cunning, smart and he knows how to stay ahead of the game. He kind of reminds me of a younger version of one of my favorite YA characters.

Sage is one of those characters who made me laugh, made me cringe with some of the situations he got himself into and had me cheering for him the whole time. He's definitely a stubborn character, but that's one of the things I came to admire about him. He refused to bend toward his master, Conner's will. He wanted to be his own person, and though he takes some brutal punishments for it, I didn't want him to give up, which he doesn't. He's truly a character who will wiggle his way into your heart and leave you wanting him so much more for him and from him. Every hero has a villain and unfortunately for Sage that person is Conner, his owner if you will. He is one of those clever villain's who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He's one of those guys few ever have the courage to stand up to and walk away from doing so. He's a guy I'd fear, but for Sage he's someone he refuses to fear.

There's more to this story than just Sage. Sure, he's the main character and someone you'll quickly fall in love with, but there's a cast of fascinating secondary characters around him, a Kingdom to rule, it's rich history to learn about, and a mystery to solve surrounding the lost Prince. This is a book that once you start reading it you won't be able to stop. It's rich in fantasy, adventure, and twists! Did I mention it also ends on a happy note? Don't be fooled by the ending though, there's so much more to this story that's yet to be told, and I can't wait to read it! Let me just say, this book will be a hit with even the most reluctant reader. Boys will love it. Girls will love it, and parents will enjoy it! I'm parent and I LOVED it! I HIGHLY recommend picking this book up when it's out next week. This is a must have for every book shelf!   

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review: Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner

Published by: Bloomsbury Kids
Released on: March 13th, 2012
Source: book from author / publisher
Ages: 10 & up
4 stars: I Enjoyed It

In the not-too-distant future, huge tornadoes and monster storms are a part of everyday life. Sent to spend the summer in the heart of storm country with her father in the special StormSafe community his company has developed, Jaden Meggs is excited to reconnect with her dad after he spent years researching storm technology in Russia. She’ll also be attending the exclusive summer science camp, Eye On Tomorrow, that her dad founded. There, Jaden meets Alex, a boy whose passion for science matches hers, and together they discover a horrible truth about her dad’s research that is putting countless lives at risk. As a massive tornado approaches, threatening to destroy everything in its path, Jaden is torn between loyalty to her dad and revealing his secret. Can she find the courage to confront her dad and save everyone from the biggest storm yet? -quoted from Goodreads

With it's blend of science, intelligent kids, mystery and set in a dystopian world, Eye of the Storm makes for an exciting read for both older middle grade readers and older fans of MG books. Kate Messner does a fabulous job at creating a not so distant feature were the characters not only genetically engineer their food, but they control the weather and live in communities that are safe havens for the increasingly strong storms, unlike what we see in our day. Kate's blend of science with her dystopian world make for an incredibly intriguing setting and story. I really enjoy the way Kate was able to explain the meteorology & scientific part of her story line so that someone like myself was able to understand what was going on and what Jaden was both working on and working to uncover.

Jaden is a fun character to get to know. When the story starts she's sent to spend some time with her workaholic father in the storm safe community of StormSafe. Not only did her father create this place, but it's a place that protects the select people who live there from the monstrous storms that now plague every day life.  While there, she's also going to be attending the elite science camp, Eye on Tomorrow, a camp her father also founded, to learn how to control and stop these monstrous storms. Jaden isn't just an intelligent kid, she's fun, she thinks things out, is a loyal friend, and is a heroine. During Jaden's time with her father and time at camp she starts to uncover some startling discoveries with her father's company. I really admired Jaden's desire to find the truth and help save those who are in the path of a seriously deadly storm. 

Aside from the characters and the setting, I really liked the scientific part of this story. While reading it, it felt believable. What if we could control the weather? What if we could build communities that were safe havens from deadly storms? I was fascinated with what Kate came up with and her ability to help me understand the scientific part of the storms that Jaden's father was working with and what Jaden and her friend Alex were also working on. I can only imagine all the time Kate put into researching storms, and the science behind them for her story. This is definitely an exciting read with a few intense scenes with a few storms that hit close to home. Eye of the Storm is a book I'd definitely recommend to fans of dystopians, science and well written, engaging MG book. 

** Teachers- don't miss Kate's discussion & teaching guide for Eye of the Storm here

*** Be sure to check stop by the blog on Monday to enter to win a copy of Eye of the Storm!

Friday, March 23, 2012


I'm excited 1) that it's FRIDAY and 2) about today's awesome GIVEAWAY!! Today's giveaway has to do with a lovely film coming out on March 30th that many of us are excited to see- Mirror, Mirror staring Lilly Collins and Julia Roberts. 

Here's a bit about the movie, which is rated PG:

One of the most beloved stories of all time is coming to life in the motion picture event for the whole family, Mirror Mirror.  A fresh and funny retelling of the Snow White legend, Mirror Mirror features breakout star Lily Collins (The Blind Side) as Snow White, a princess in exile, and Oscar®-winner Julia Roberts as the evil Queen who ruthlessly rules her captured kingdom. Seven courageous rebel dwarfs join forces with Snow White as she fights to reclaim her birthright and win her Prince in this magical comedy filled with jealousy, romance, and betrayal that will capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences the world over.  The film also stars Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as the Prince, and Nathan Lane (The Birdcage) as the hapless and bungling servant to the Queen.

This is what 1 LUCKY winner will receive!!

* A fabulous Mirror, Mirror gift pack containing a #25 Fandango Gift Card & The Mirror, Mirror: The Movie Storybook!

* 2 additional winners will each receive a copy of the Mirror, Mirror: The Movie Storybook

About the book

Relativity Media and Scholastic Inc. have released “Mirror Mirror The Movie Storybook” in anticipation of the March 30th theatrical release of MIRROR MIRROR.

Link Up!
‘Like’ Mirror Mirror on Facebook
Visit the official website to watch the trailer & grab free downloads!
Follow Mirror Mirror on Pinterest for behind the scenes photos and more!

Enjoy a few stills from the movie!

To Enter today's Giveaway, please fill out the forum below:

Thank you to Relativity Media for today's giveaway!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: The Unseen Guest (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #3)

By: Maryrose Wood
Published by: Harper Collins Children
To Be Released on: March 27th, 2012
Series: Book #3 in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

Of especially naughty children it is sometimes said, "They must have been raised by wolves."
The Incorrigible children actually were.
Thanks to the efforts of Miss Penelope Lumley, their plucky governess, Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia are much more like children than wolf pups now. They are accustomed to wearing clothes. They hardly ever howl at the moon. And for the most part, they resist the urge to chase squirrels up trees.
Despite Penelope's civilizing influence, the Incorrigibles still managed to ruin Lady Constance's Christmas ball, nearly destroying the grand house. So while Ashton Place is being restored, Penelope, the Ashtons, and the children take up residence in London. Penelope is thrilled, as London offers so many opportunities to further the education of her unique students. But the city presents challenges, too, in the form of the palace guards' bearskin hats, which drive the children wild--not to mention the abundance of pigeons the Incorrigibles love to hunt. As they explore London, however, they discover more about themselves as clues about the children's--and Penelope's--mysterious past crop up in the most unexpected ways. . . .
I absolutely LOVE this series and I can not wait for this book to be out next week so I can run out and pick it up. This is a fabulous MG series with a blend of historical fiction, adventure and lots of fun. What book MG or children's book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review: George Shrinks by William Joyce

By: William Joyce
Published by: Laura Geringer Book / Harper Collins Children's Books
Released on: February 20th, 1987
Ages: 7 &  up
Source: borrowed
4 stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

This classic story by William Joyce--in which young George wakes up to find that he's shrunk to the size of a mouse--has shrunk to classic board book size. Now toddlers--who still might not be able to reach the cookie jar on top of the fridge--will have a book just the right size for their own enjoyment. Full color. -quoted from Goodreads

What a fun and entertaining read. This story is full of adventure, imagination and it's one kids of all ages will enjoy as they get to know George and follow him on his adventure of being little! George dreams of being small and one morning he awakes to find he's shrunk. Being small doesn't stop George from taking care of his younger brother and his responsibilities. Making everything into a grand adventure, George is able to do everything his parent's note asked him to do, and then some. 

I really liked the concept behind this story and the fact it was easy for kids to identify with the things George does, regardless of whether or not he's his average size, or the size of a mouse. Not only are the words easy for young kids to read, but the illustrations are engaging, and help hold the readers attention through the duration of the book. It's fun to see all the things George does. This is a fabulous book for young readers who have recently learned the read, as the words are ones they're familiar with.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Interview with PEACEWEAVER author Rebecca Barnhouse

I'm thrilled to have author Rebecca Barnhouse on the blog today to talk about her upcoming MG release, Peaceweaver. Here's a little bit about her book

Published by: Random House Kids
To Be Released on: March 27th, 2012
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

In this stand-alone companion book to The Coming of the Dragon, 16-year-old Hild has to decide what’s most important to her, honor or happiness. Those who have read Dragon will meet new characters and see some familiar faces from a new perspective. Readers new to Hild’s world will meet a girl who knows how to wield a sword, but whose job is to weave peace between two warring kingdoms.


What three words would you use to describe your upcoming release Peaceweaver?

Three words: Girl meets monsters.

I really like that Hild's story is a companion story to The Coming of the Dragon, which features Beowulf. What inspired you to want to write Hild's story?

Hild doesn’t show up until the very end of The Coming of the Dragon, yet she plays a vital role. I wanted to spend more time with her, to get a better understanding of who she is, why she would act in the way she does, and how she felt about what was happening to her. It seemed like I’d be doing her a disservice to not tell her story.

What is something that you've come to admire about your young heroine?

Even when it means going against authority and custom, Hild acts according to her conscience. Her naïveté causes her to misjudge situations and people at times, but I admire her willingness to try to change things instead of accepting situations she believes are wrong. She’s also a heck of a lot braver than I could ever be!

As a young reader did you have a fictional character you looked up? If so, who was it and why did you admire them?

I very much wanted to be Menolly from Dragonsong and Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey. While I thought it would be fun to be such a talented musician (not that I was willing to practice), to live in Harper Hall, and to have nine fire lizards of my very own, it’s Menolly’s resourcefulness that I really admired. When things got unbearable at home, she set out on her own, living beside the ocean and providing for all her own needs, proving to herself and the world that she wasn’t as useless as some thought she was.

What were some of your favorite books to read during your childhood?

Books have always been such a vital part of my life that it’s hard to limit my answer, but I’ll try. In elementary school, the Little House books were my absolute favorites. Then, in junior high school, I discovered science fiction (especially Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke) and fantasy (Patricia McKillip, Anne McCaffrey, and Katherine Kurtz were some of the writers I loved). And of course, there were The Lord of the Rings and Ursula K. Leguin’s Earthsea books, which continue to resonate deeply for me.

If you could give young aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would that be?

Unplug for awhile every day and focus on the world around you—the way people look and walk and speak, the colors and textures in the sky and trees and clothes, all the sensory experiences that surround you. And then experiment with describing some of them in words.


Thank you for visiting with us today Rebecca!! Please be sure to visit Rebecca on her website to find out more about her upcoming releases.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Middle Grade March Madness Giveaway

In celebration of Middle Grade books, I'm giving away an ARC of an upcoming release for The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict! Here's a little bit about the book:

By: Trenton Lee Stewart
Published by: Little Brown
To Be Released on: April 10th, 2012
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Nine-year-old Nicholas Benedict has more problems than most children his age. Not only is he an orphan with an unfortunate noes, but he also has narcolepsy, a condition that gives him terrible nightmares and makes him fall asleep at the worst possible moments.

Now he's being sent to a new orphanage, where he will encounter vicious bullies, selfish adults, strange circumstances – and a mystery that could change his life forever. Luckily, he does have one thing in his favor: He's a a genius.

On his quest to solve the mystery, Nicholas finds enemies around every corner, but also friends in unexpected places – and discovers along the way that the greatest puzzle of all is himself.
-quoted from Goodreads

To enter to win, please fill out the form below!

-You must be 13 yrs & older to enter or have a parent/guardian's permission to enter if younger
- 1 entry per person
- Open internationally
- This giveaway ends on 4/9/12

Good luck to everyone!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Review: Dear Hound by Jill Murphy

Published by: Bloomsbury Kids
Released on: September 14th, 2010
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 8 & up
4 stars: I Really Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Alfie's your average deer hound puppy—curious about the world around him, happy to chase the cat and laze around in his favorite beanbag bed, and very loyal to his boy, Charlie. So he's extremely upset when Charlie goes away and leaves him with a sitter—upset enough that he escapes into the woods. With the help of some friendly foxes, Alfie learns to live in the wild, but he never stops thinking of Charlie and trying to find his way home. And Charlie, of course, never stops thinking of Alfie, either. Will these two be able to find each other before it's too late?

Featuring irresistible black-and-white line drawings on every spread, Dear Hound is both an accessible, heartwarming story and the perfect choice for readers graduating out of early chapter books. -quoted from Goodreads

Dear Hound is a heart warming story about an adorable young Deer Hound named Alfie. This pup finds himself in the middle of one misadventure after the other. After being sent to spend the night with a care taker while his family goes out of town, Alfie frightens himself and runs off. Finding himself lost and alone in the woods during a stormy night, Alfie wants nothing more than to go home, back to his owner Charlie. Luckily for Alfie he befriends two friendly foxes who have compassion on him and end up helping him learn the ways of the woods, and survive until his owner can find him.

Through out this sweet story, Alfie learns to be like a fox, and Charlie never gives up his search for his pup, even if that search takes him months. During the months of Alfie is missing, Alfie and Charlie and have a lot of close encounters of being reunited. Will Alfie make it home and will Charlie ever find Alfie? This is truly one of those fabulous books young readers will enjoy spending time with. It's easy to read, engaging and extremely easy to follow along with. You don't need to be an animal lover to enjoy this cute story. The friendships, determination and devotion of both dog and owner, simple plot twists and the humor found in this story make this an incredibly enjoyable read! I highly recommend picking this one up.

Monday, March 12, 2012

MMGM / Book Review: At First Bite by Ruth Ames

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is a weekly feature started by MG author Shannon Messengerand is a weekly post featuring an upcoming MG release, a MG Author Interview or a MG review. You can find out more about this series posts, and find links to author authors and bloggers who are taking part in this feature here. You can also my Must Have Middle Grade Reads feature onMundie Moms

By: Ruth Ames
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: November 1st, 2011
Source: book to review from publisher
Ages: 9 & up
4 stars: It's A Great Read
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Series: #8 in the Poison Apple Series

Poison Apple Books: Thrilling. Bone-chilling. These books have bite!Ashlee Lambert, the queen bee from THIS TOTALLY BITES, has had a tough time ever since she became a full-fledged vampire. But now that she's moving from New York City to sunny Los Angeles, she's excited to make a fresh new start.But Ashlee never counted on a clique of popular mean girls or awful sunburns. Keeping her huge secret is suddenly harder than ever. And when something -- or someone -- starts attacking people at her school, Ashlee realizes she's not the only vampire in town. It's up to Ashlee to figure out who's behind the attacks before her cover is blown forever! -quoted from Goodreads

At First Bite is a fun vampire story for tweens and younger readers. This is the second book in the Poison Apple series I've read, and boy do I wish these were around when I was younger. This story introducers readers to tween vampire, Ashlee Lambert, who moves from her posh NYC apartment out to to L.A. were her famous mother gets her own reality tv as a judge. Ashlee not only has to make new friends and deal with a whole new school, but she's still learning about being a vampire. The cool thing about the vampires in this book is that they shift into bats, don't drink animal blood and can go outside. Though she's the lone vampire in her family (who have no idea she is one), Ashlee has a mentor there to help her. Things get a little out of hand once she's in L.A.

Though Ashlee's kind are the "good" vampires and drink Sanga, a blood substitute for human blood since they don't attack humans, there are vampires called the Dark Ones. These vampires do attack humans and it's up to Ashlee to figure out who the Dark One is at her new school that keeps attacking the students and staff. Ashlee for me was a fun character to read about and one I think fans of this series will enjoy meeting. It's not just the paranormal part of this story that makes it a fun read, but also the relatable side to it as well. Ashlee learns some important lessons at her new school like what being a true friend is all about, and having money and being with the popular crowd isn't always as fun as it seems.

This is a fun read and one I'd recommend for both younger and tween readers. It's clean cut and a great introduction into both this series and paranormal themed books.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Book Review: The Moon Over High Street by Natalie Babbitt

By: Natalie Babbitt
Published by: Scholastic Inc
Released on: March 1st, 2012
Source: ARC from publisher at ALA
Ages: 8 & up
3 stars: It's A Good Read
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The new novel by Natalie Babbitt, author of Tuck EverlastingJoe Casimir needed help with the choice he had to make. But how do you choose the person who will help you choose? Mr. Boulderwall, the millionaire, knew exactly what he wanted Joe to choose. And millionaires are experts at making choices. Well, aren't they? But Vinnie, the number-two man down at Sope Electric, didn't much approve of millionaires. He said to Joe, "Listen, kid, all of 'em act like they're the only ones with a ticket to the show!" But he didn't have any real advice to offer. Joe's Gran didn't either, as it turned out, and neither did Aunt Myra. The good advice was there, though. Right across the street. Just waiting right across the street. There are a lot of good things just waiting. You'll see.

Set in the early 1960's, this story follows that of young Joe Casimir, a twelve old boy who's been raised by his grandmother following the tragic death of his parents as an infant. After an accident that lands his grandmother in the hospital, Joe is sent to spend the summer with his "Aunt" Myra. During his stay with her he not only learns what family, love and friendships is all about, but what it means to hold onto your dream. The Moon Over High Street is a story that tackles the theme about money, the working class, rich vs poor, family, friendship and love.

I really enjoyed the old fashioned feel this story has with the setting, the way things were done during this time period and the mannerisms of the characters. It really set the tone for the story. I also enjoyed getting to met Joe. He was a quiet, reserved character who slowly started to break out of his shell during his time with his Aunt. I felt like for the first time he was able to see what having family around him was all about. His time spent with his Aunt consisted of delicious homemade breakfasts, reading out in the hammock, sitting around the table talking, his first crush and his blossoming friendship with the girl across the street and a chance meeting with the local millionaire, Mr. Boulderwall. Much to the shock of Joe, his family and myself, Mr Bolderwall makes an offer to adopt. Faced with making a choice of sticking with his family and following his dreams, Joe has to decide if money will buy him the happiness he always wanted.

This story is a fun, good ole' fashion Middle Grade read that will even be easy to read for readers as young as 3rd and 4th grade. The story line is easy to follow, the words are easy to read and it's a fun, fast paced book. Each of the characters bring something to the story and are enjoyable to read about. Along with Joe, I loved Aunt Myra and Joe's fiery Grandmother. Being that I'm a reader who looks for a little bit more depth with the characters, normally I would say I needed a bit more of a connection to really love this book, but the way in which Natalie wrote each character works great for this story. I think fans of Natalie's will enjoy Joe's story.
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 ~