Wizard For Hire: Apprentice Needed by Obert Skye

Wizard for Hire Apprentice Needed by Obert Skye

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Book Review of Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed (Book #2) by Obert Skye

After the cliffhanger ending of Book #1, my house has been waiting and waiting for Book #2. Where did Rin go? Is he ok? Is he ever going to come back? What about Ozzy and Sigi? Are they ok? There are so many unanswered questions from the first book that need to be answered! One of the biggest questions is if Rin is really a wizard or not. I mean, the scene in New Mexico makes you think one way, but you thought the other way the whole rest of the book. Will Book #2 give us the answers we crave? Or will it too end in a cliffhanger? I’m not going to give anything away, but you might find out some of those answers. Maybe? Haha. Just read it already! Or, check out my book review of A Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed by Obert Skye.

Blurb:

“Ozzy Toffy’s adventure, which began in Wizard for Hire, continues when one dark and windy night, he gets out of bed, jumps out his window, and walks straight into the ocean. More than ever, Ozzy could really use the services of Rin, the wizard he hired to help find his parents—but Rin is missing, despite Ozzy’s continual attempts to contact him. And Clark, the mechanical bird his father left him, is as peculiar and vain as ever. When a mysterious package arrives, Ozzy and his good friend Sigi are sure that the plane ticket and thumb drive in it are from Rin. Trying to get Clark through security at the airport proves complicated—as most things are with Clark. But when they arrive in New York, they discover that there’s even more adventure in store for them.

Will Rin return and save the day? Can Sigi find a way to trust her delinquent father? Will someone please appreciate Clark the way he’d like to be appreciated? For once?

Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed is a story filled with humor and excitement that shows us the magic in everyday things.”

My Book Review:

Book #1 sure ended with a bang, right? Wow—can you say cliffhanger? At my house we have been waiting and waiting for Book #2 to come out so we could see what happens. It’s spring break here, thank goodness, and so I had the time to sit down and read. This book is just as crazy as the first one! Things are happening and neither Ozzy nor Sigi understand what that means. Then one day they receive a package, and it sets off a series of events that they will never forget. Buckle those seat belts and get ready for an adventure!

I like the writing style of this book. It’s fast-paced, full of action, and full of mystery. Yep, you’re still wondering! Even after the events in New Mexico, you’re still wondering if Rin is really a wizard or not. Is he? Hmmm…no. Well…yes, I think he is. Ummm…no. No way. Haha! That’s a good way to keep your readers reading…make them go crazy wondering. And then to make it worse, Ozzy starts doing some crazy and dangerous things—unconsciously!

Obert Skye has a fun, witty writing style. He really likes to use figurative language! This is the first paragraph of chapter one:

The day had departed, dashing off like a frightened child as the first slender fingers of dusk gripped the sky. In its absence, darkness arrived at 1221 Ocean View Drive. Like a large visitor whom nobody had invited, the inkiness came early and in force, its arms filled with fatigue and exhaustion. It sat down on everything and moaned like an old man with tired legs and no intention of getting back up anytime soon.

English teachers unite! In one paragraph you have personification and several similes. Not every paragraph is like this, but many of them are, and I love it. I don’t think enough authors take the time to craft the language of their books. It’s refreshing.

The characters are well developed and realistic. Ozzy, Sigi, and Clark are all great characters. As a reader, you feel like you’re one of them. You feel like you’re there with them and experiencing things with them. Rin is hilarious, and I love all his words of wisdom. My favorite is when Ozzy and Sigi are trying to leave meaningful messages on his phone. I’m going to start doing this, I think. You may only leave a message if you leave an inspirational quote with it. My kids (and husband) would get so irritated!

This book answers a few questions, but adds about 100 more! AHHHHH! Yep, there better be a book three! And pronto. ‘Cuz it’s another cliffhanger ending ladies and gents. Of course, the cover art is amazing! The fabulous Brandon Dorman has done it again! You’ll want to read the book just because it has such a fantastic cover! If you want action, suspense, mystery, wizardry—or not wizardry, cool mechanical birds, mind control, car chases, or night-time sailing expeditions, this book is for you! Hang on, though, it’s quite the ride!

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (I’m adding the + to this book because even though there isn’t any profanity, he sometimes uses words that are very close to profane words as a substitute. He also says things like, “This guy cursed up a storm.” I thank him for not using the actual words, but the reader does know that cursing was involved. There isn’t any “intimacy,” but there is some violence. Ozzy, Sigi, and Rin fight off some bad guys, and there is a kidnapping.)

Age Recommendation: Middle-graders (4th-6th) and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2FSMGK6

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye The Inventor's Secret by Chad Morris Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides
 
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A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore

A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore

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Book Review of A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore

Have you ever thought of yourself as something unlovable or scary? It starts as a small idea and then festers into something uncontrollable and real. I think everyone has short moments where they may think that of themselves. Sophie thinks this of herself constantly. She’s convinced she’s a monster, which breaks my heart. No one should think that, especially a child. She got the idea from her favorite book—The Big Book of Monsters that she always keeps with her. Yes, it’s big and heavy, but that doesn’t stop her from carrying it everywhere. It’s how she determines which monsters or creatures are living around her—so she can protect herself. Find out more in my book review of A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore.

Blurb:

“Being the new kid at school is hard, but Sophie has a secret weapon: her vivid imagination and her oversized, trusted Big Book of Monsters—an encyclopedia of myths and legends from all over the world. The pictures and descriptions of the creatures in her book help her know which kids to watch out for—clearly the bullies are trolls and goblins—as well as how to avoid them. Though not everyone is hiding a monster inside; the nice next-door neighbor is probably a good witch, and Sophie’s new best friend is obviously a good fairy.

Sophie is convinced she is a monster because of the ‘monster mark’ on her face. At least that’s what she calls it. The doctors call it a blood tumor, and it covers almost half of her face. Sophie can feel it pulsing with every beat of her heart. And if she’s a monster on the outside, then she must be a monster on the inside, too. She knows that it’s only a matter of time before the other kids, the doctors, and even her mom figure it out.

The Big Book of Monsters gives Sophie the idea that there might be a cure for her monster mark, but in order to make the magic work, she’ll need to create a special necklace made from ordinary items—a feather, a shell, and a crystal—that Sophie believes are talismans. Once she’s collected all the needed ingredients, she’ll only have one chance to make a very special wish. If Sophie can’t break the curse and become human again, her mom is probably going to leave—just like her Dad did. Because who would want to live with a real monster?”

My Book Review:

As a mom and a teacher, it breaks my heart to think of this darling girl thinking something so terrible of herself. She has a blood tumor on her face, and it’s big. You can see why she’d think of herself as an ugly monster. The problem is, she can’t figure out which kind. She’s read her book dozens of times, and she can figure out what everyone else is, but she can’t find a description that matches her monster-type. She must be one, though, because she’s ugly, and it would explain why her dad left her. Once again, it makes me so sad that she thinks of herself in this way.

This book is so well written. Sophie’s voice in the story is sweet, real, and protective of her secret. Her thought process is realistic and child-like, and it draws you into the story. The descriptions of the monsters are witty and clever. I love how quick Sophie’s mind worked to match a person to a monster. It works because we all tend to judge people by their appearance and actions (whether or not those judgments are accurate is a different story), Sophie just goes a step further and puts a monster description with it.

The character development in this book is fantastic. You feel like you know each of the characters personally, and they come to life on the page. Sophie is well developed, likable, imaginative, and spunky. Sometimes I cringe with her because she has a bit of temper sometimes. Autumn is so sweet and fun. Just like a fairy. Mrs. Barrett reminds me of my grandma and Sophie’s mom is realistic, has her flaws, and has her strengths. I think she’s really good for Sophie. I do feel bad that Sophie feels like she can’t tell her mom everything she’s feeling.

This is such a clever story. The way Sophie’s imagination puts everything together is so imaginative and unique. It’s like living in a whole imaginary world. Having four kids myself, I can see that she’s using it as a coping mechanism to help her deal with her reality. And, she’s using it as a way to hide. It’s a good lesson to learn, though. There are quite a few great lessons and values in this book: friendship, the importance of relationships, learning that everyone has trials to overcome, not being judgmental, and the importance of talking about your problems.

A Monster Like Me reminds me of Wonder. It’s important for children and adults to read stories like these because it tends to put things in perspective. Learning lessons from a book Is a lot easier and less painful than learning them in real life. I loved this book and think the middle-graders and YA will also love it! If you liked Wonder or Mustaches for Maddie then you will enjoy this book. I highly recommend A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore. This book would also make a great read-aloud.

Author’s Note

Sophie’s story is dear to my heart because I know how it feels to be bullied because I looked different from everyone else. When I was a child, I had a hemangioma on my forehead that stuck out so far my bangs couldn’t cover it, no matter how hard my mother tried. Because the tumor was made up of blood vessels, I could feel my heart beating inside it when I was playing hard or really upset.

The incident at the grocery store where the hydra lady says, “Hey, look kids! That girl doesn’t need a Halloween costume. She’s already got one!” is an exact quote of what a woman once said to my mother and me. Another woman told a classroom full of kids that I had the mark of the devil. Kids asked if it was a goose bump, or hamburger, or if my brains had leaked out. My dad had to chase away some bullies who had followed me home, called me names, and pushed me into the street. Sometimes, after a bad day of bullying, I wished I could just rip the mark off my face and be like everyone else—but it was a part of me, and wishing didn’t change that.

My parents decided to take an active role in educating the people around me so they would know what a hemangioma was and understand that it wasn’t icky, or gross, or contagious. Whenever we moved to a new place, my dad would go with me to the elementary school and talk to the kids about my mark and let them ask questions. After those talks, kids befriended me and noticed when bullies came around. Like Autumn, my school friends would speak up when they saw someone being mean to me, and sometimes they would stand between me and the bullies until they left me alone. I didn’t let the bullies stop me from doing what I wanted to do. I climbed trees, went swimming, wrote poetry, brought my tarantula and snakes to show-and-tell, and played in the tide pools.

This is my message to anyone who experiences bullying: Don’t let the bullies define you! I’ve been there, I know it hurts to be teased, but don’t let it stop you from doing what you want. Find something you enjoy—a hobby, talent, or challenge—and practice that skill. Know that someone out there, maybe even someone in your same school, needs a friend as much as you do. Be that friend. Stand up for each other. And know that you are not alone.

You can always find me at WendySwore.com, and I would love to hear your stories and what you thought of the book.

MLM blog tour Image

Content Rating PGContent Rating: PG (It’s clean! There’s no profanity or “intimacy.” There is some bullying and there are a few blown tempers with unkind words.)

Age Recommendation: Middle-graders (4th-6th) and YA (13-18)

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2EO91Ik

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

mustaches for maddie Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown Wonder by R.J. Palacio
 
 
Featured Image Photo Credit: Goodreads.com

The Transparency Tonic (Book #2) by Frank L. Cole

The Transparency Tonic by Frank L Cole

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Book Review of Potion Masters: The Transparency Tonic (Book #2) by Frank L. Cole

When I grow up I want to be a potion master! Seriously. It sounds like so much fun! Brewing potions that make you weigh as much as a car or make ivy grow all around you sounds like so much fun! I really like this blind batching stuff. Who knew that some people are so smart that they can come up with new potions on the fly? Yep, I want to be a potion master. I’ve probably already passed the age of showing my ability, but who knows? It sounds so fun! I mean, you are always in danger, with evil forces constantly working against you, but that’s a small price to pay for all that fun, right? Right? Find out in my book review of Potion Masters: The Transparency Tonic (Book #2) by Frank L. Cole.

Blurb:

“It has been nine months since Gordy and his friends, Max and Adilene, stopped Esmerelda from destroying B.R.E.W. (the Board of Ruling Elixirists Worldwide) and the Vessel—the main source of power for the secret society of potion masters. Gordy is starting the eighth grade, and has been practicing new potion brewing techniques, but when he starts zoning out during practice, he knows something is wrong.

Gordy and his friends continue to work on their potions, but when Gordy chooses Max as his lab partner, Adilene starts to wonder if she still has a place with her old friends. She turns to a new friend, Cadence, who might know a way to help Adilene become a potion master on her own.

And in Greenland, Mezzarix has a chance to escape his Forbidden Zone—as long as he agrees to work with the mysterious Ms. Bimini and replicate an unusual solution known as ‘Silt.’ It could be just the weapon Mezzarix needs to destroy B.R.E.W. forever.

As Gordy’s potion-making talents increase, so do the frequency of his blackouts, which raises some troubling questions. With both B.R.E.W. and the Vessel in danger, and with the potion world in chaos, it’s up to Gordy, Max, and Adilene to rally the remaining Potion Masters before it’s too late.”

My Book Review:

First off, I love the cover of this book! Owen Richardson did a great job with the cover art. This series is so fun! I loved the first book and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second one. My kids enjoyed it as well. Even my big 15 year-old enjoyed this book. In my sixth grade classroom, many of my students have also read the first book and enjoyed it. Needless to say, I was excited to read book #2!

The book starts off with Gordy trying out a new potion called ‘Trapper Keeper.’ Fun stuff! I seriously love the creativity in this book! Frank Cole has quite the imagination! For example, Bolter’s car is hilarious! Estelle the cat car—she has many feline characteristics, but my favorite is the oily mesh and wire ‘hair ball.’ Haha! And the different potions that Gordy comes up with are so great! I love the potion that makes the person weigh as much as a car. I’m not sure when I’d use a potion like that, but I bet it could come in handy at times.

I love the characters. Gordy, Max, and Adilene are great characters. They have different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses, and yet they work well together. I like that they’re not perfect and they still act like eighth graders. Mezzarix is scary. Evil. Brilliant. Creepy. He makes a good bad guy! There are some of our favorite characters in this book, and there are a few new ones as well. They’re well developed and well written.

Frank Cole’s writing is witty, descriptive, captivating, and so creative. His writing style is engaging, and it pulls you into the story. There are a few different story lines in the book, and they all come together very well.  This book is well written—I  couldn’t put it down, and I’m a mom! The middle-graders are going to love this book! If your child has read and enjoyed the first book…run, don’t walk, to pick up this one!

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There is no profanity or “intimacy” in this book, but there is some violence. Good vs. evil battle it out, and although it’s not too graphic, it might be a bit scary for younger readers.)

Recommendation: Middle-Graders (4th-6th) and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2FXIgCK

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Potion Masters book 1 by Frank L. Cole Dragonwatch (Book #1) by Brandon Mull  The Inventor's Secret by Chad Morris
 
 

Wrath of the Dragon King (Book #2) by Brandon Mull

Dragonwatch Wrath of the Dragon King (Book #2) by Brandon Mull

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Book Review of Dragonwatch: Wrath of the Dragon King (Book #2) by Brandon Mull

I reviewed Dragonwatch (Book #1) about a week ago, so I’m super excited to be able to share my book review of Dragonwatch: Wrath of the Dragon King (Book #2) by Brandon Mull with you today! It’s great when you can read book 1 and book 2 within a week of each other because then you don’t forget everything in between! I had to read this book quickly because as soon as it arrived I had three kids fighting over who got to read it next. And they’re all teenagers! That’s the sign of a good book, for sure! All three of them read and loved Fablehaven and have been Brandon Mull fans ever since.

Blurb:

“After a humiliating defeat at the hands of Kendra and Seth, Celebrant, King of Dragons, prepares to unleash his fury and take control of his native preserve. Two of the seven dragon sanctuaries have already fallen. Will Wyrmroost be next?

Armed with secret information from a new ally, Celebrant seeks a talisman that will guarantee victory in the war against the humans. With a cursed castle and traitorous creatures standing in the way, Kendra and Seth must attempt to foil Celebrant’s plan and beat him to his prize.

Will the two young caretakers rally enough support from the creatures of Wyrmroost to quell the uprising and protect the world from draconic dominion? One thing is certain—dragons are deadly foes, and one wrong move could bring swift defeat. It will take more than Kendra, Seth, and their current allies have ever given to endure the wrath of the Dragon King.”

My Book Review:

What’s not to love about two children stepping in as caretakers of one of the biggest and most dangerous dragon preserves in the world? This book has everything: dragons, other exciting creatures, deception, battles, journeys, friends, foes, victories, defeats, and castles. There are some new friends and, unfortunately, some new enemies. There’s action, adventure, and—something I’m excited about—the Tiny Hero is back!

Kendra and Seth get invited to a dinner party at Celebrant’s castle, and suddenly everything they’ve hoped for gets dashed to pieces. One declaration from Celebrant changes everything, and not for the better. How will they rise above the challenge? Will they be able to save themselves and the preserve?

Let me tell you—there are some tense moments in this book! Be prepared! Jump on your griffin and hang on for the ride! As always, Brandon Dorman did an amazing job with the cover art! A flying bunny—what? I love his art, and the kids do too. Yes, we all judge books by their covers (admit it), and judging by this fantastic cover, this book is, well…fantastic!

Brandon Mull does a great job of setting the stage and putting you inside the story. As Kendra and Seth sit at dinner at Skyhold with the other inhabitants of Wyrmroost, you’re right there with them. As they travel through the preserve, you’re right there with them. As they face challenges and their skills are put to the test, you’re right there with them.

He also does a great job with character development. Kendra and Seth are such great characters. They make mistakes, but try their hardest. I love that Tanu is back, and Eve and Calvin are such fun additions to this new series. I also love the talking animals in the Zowali Protectorate. The bear that finds Kendra has a funny dry wit. Doren and Newel are still hilarious, and watching the Somber Knight in action is pretty awesome.

This is such a fun book! I really enjoyed it. It’s fast-paced, full of action and adventure, and has some fun surprises. The characters’ abilities are tested every step of the way, and I love the lessons they learn in the process. I also love some of the new “tech” introduced, like the cloak of innocence and the bow that can shoot 100 arrows at a time. Yep, fun stuff! If you liked Fablehaven or the first Dragonwatch then you will love this book. If you haven’t read them yet, definitely read them before you read this one! And do it quick so you can get to this book quickly!  

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy.” There is quite a bit of violence. It isn’t overly graphic, but they’re fighting a war against dragons. Dragons die and other characters die.)

Recommendation: Middle Graders (4th-6th) and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2PCvTR5

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Dragonwatch (Book #1) by Brandon Mull fablehaven book #1 by Brandon Mull  caretakers guide to fablehaven
 
 

Book Review of Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull

Dragonwatch (Book #1) by Brandon Mull

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Book Review of Dragonwatch (Book #1) by Brandon Mull

My kids and I were so excited to hear that Brandon Mull would be writing a break-off series to Fablehaven! As soon as this book came out, we had it in our hands. And they all read it. And they all read it again. “Mom! You need to read Dragonwatch!” “Mom, why haven’t you read it yet?” “Mom, when are you going to read Dragonwatch?” So, here I am, finally getting around to reading it. Just in time because I get to review book #2 very soon! So…drumroll please…I (finally) present my book review of Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull.

Blurb:

 

“In the Hidden Dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power.

No other person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to save the world from destruction. Long ago, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help. As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge to battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities.

How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it?”

My Book Review:

I’m so excited to get to spend more time with Seth and Kendra! I have to admit that I really hoped Brandon Mull would write more about them! This adventure is a bit overwhelming for them, but I’m sure they’ll live up to the challenge! I love that Seth is still Seth. He’s curious, mischievous, a boy, and has a difficult time listening to (and following) instructions. Sometimes this works to his benefit, but other times it gets him in big trouble.

Kendra is more relatable because she is more like me: a rule follower. I cringe every time Seth talks or walks or gets an idea. Kendra, on the other hand, reminds me a little too much of me. She can be a little bossy (this for sure doesn’t describe me at all—just so you know), kind of a know-it-all, and she follows the rules with exactness. It’s interesting to see how these qualities benefit her, but they can also sometimes, just sometimes hinder her. I like that she is a strong character, though, and she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Even if it’s to a big, scary dragon!

There are a few new characters in this book, and my favorite of the new characters is the Tiny Hero. He is awesome. Henrick the alcetaur is also pretty cool. I didn’t even know what an alcetaur was, do you? He’s like a centaur, but he has the body of a moose. There you go, you learned something today! The Somber Knight is…yep, you guessed it—somber!  

This book is so fun! Seth and Kendra have a huge task ahead of them, but they have good attitudes, are willing to work hard, and they are very brave. I like that they need to do it together. They each have a role to play, and they are very good at those roles. I like that they each have time to shine individually as well as together. The book is well written and so much fun. I loved the challenges they faced, and the solutions they came up with.

It does kind of follow the same pattern as the Fablehaven books, but that’s not really a complaint because I liked those a lot. If you enjoyed Fablehaven, you will definitely enjoy Dragonwatch! I highly recommend both series, especially for middle-graders and early YA. Oh yeah, and anyone who loves a fun story! I just have one question: when does book #2 come out? Oh yeah…next week! Stay tuned next week for my review of Dragonwatch book #2!!

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy.” There’s not really any violence either. There is an angry dragon, but he doesn’t hurt anyone in this book.)

Age Recommendation: Middle Graders (4th-6th) and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2RbkvsF

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Fablehaven book #1 by Brandon Mull fablehaven book of imagination  caretakers guide to fablehaven
 
 
Featured Image Credit: Goodreads.com

Book Review of Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

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Book Review of Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

I have worn glasses since second grade, and contacts since seventh grade. Pretty much, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t need glasses to see. I’ve never been made fun of or teased because of my glasses, thankfully, but the cover of this book totally had me curious! I loved Mustaches For Maddie, so when I saw that Squint was written by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown I knew I needed to read it. And I’m so glad I did. They have become quite the duo!

Blurb:

“Flint loves to draw. In fact, he’s furiously trying to finish his comic book so he can be the youngest winner of the ‘Find a Comic Star’ contest. He’s also rushing to finish because he has keratoconus—an eye disease that could eventually make him blind.

McKell is the new girl at school and immediately hangs with the popular kids. Except McKell’s not a fan of the way her friends treat this boy they call ‘Squint.’ He seems nice and really talented. He draws awesome pictures of superheroes. McKell wants to get to know him, but is it worth the risk? What if her friends catch her hanging with the kid who squints all the time?

McKell has a hidden talent of her own but doesn’t share it for fear of being judged. Her terminally ill brother, Danny, challenges McKell to share her love of poetry and songwriting. Flint seems like someone she could trust. Someone who would never laugh at her. Someone who is as good and brave as the superhero in Flint’s comic book.

Squint is the inspiring story of two new friends dealing with their own challenges, who learn to trust each other, believe in themselves, and begin to truly see what matters most.”

My Book Review:

What a great book! As I stated above, I love the way that Chad Morris and Shelly Brown write together. The voice in their stories just draws you in. It’s so real. It is full of emotion, expectations, and energy. It’s easy to read and understand, and yet it has an underlying depth to it. Although it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, it has such a positive feeling to it. The voice fits the characters and situations in the book perfectly.

This book feels similar to Wonder by R.J. Palacio. There are some similarities there as well. Flint, the main character, has a disability and the kids at school make fun of him, tease him, and stay away from him. Then someone is brave enough to look past the thick glasses and quirky habits. McKell wants to fit in with the popular crowd, but she doesn’t like how they treat Flint, also known as Squint. Her brother gives her these challenges to do, and since she’s afraid that the popular crowd will make fun of her for doing them, she asks Squint to accompany and help her.

Squint is not used to people actually paying attention to him and being nice to him. At first he doesn’t trust McKell because he expects it all to be a prank. But then it’s not. She genuinely wants to be with him. Now, she may still want to also be a part of the popular gang, but she makes it clear to Squint that she doesn’t like how they treat him. She’s nice, caring, talented, friendly, and kind. She has the ability to look past the glasses and quirks to find the real Flint.

Flint is also a great character. He used to be normal like everyone else. He played football, had friends, and could see perfectly. Then one day he began losing his eyesight. The diagnosis was keratoconus. It’s an eye disease. This is how Flint explains it in the book:

“It’s called keratoconus,” I said. “It’s not like super rare or anything. There may even be someone else in the school with it, but mine is pretty bad. Well, really bad. My corneas are getting thinner and thinner, and that makes my eyes bulge. It’s like the windshield of my eye to too weak to hold its shape ball…It makes everything look a bit like a funhouse mirror.”

I won’t complain about my poor eyesight after reading about Flint’s disease!

I think it’s great how Chad Morris and Shelly Brown use their books to bring attention to different situations in people’s lives. The more we talk, the more we realize how similar we are. The more books kids can read about how being different is ok, the better. If kids can read more books on how to treat people, the better off we’ll all be. We like to think we’re different. We’re unique, for sure. But we’re the same. We all want to fit in, have friends, be loved, and not be made fun of or teased. I think everyone wants to feel safe and acknowledged. It’s the relationships and the connections that matter.

I love books that teach such valuable lessons in such a great way. It’s a great reminder for readers of all ages that how we treat people is important. Everyone has a story. Everyone is fighting a battle. Some battles are front and center while others are more hidden. Learning to look past differences and see the real person behind the façade is a skill we can all improve in. Learning to accept and love despite differences is also something needed today. Also, there are always two sides to every story. Many times we get caught up in our own thoughts and feelings, and forget that others are involved, and they have feelings too. Thank you Chad and Shelly for writing stories that inspire, teach, and uplift!  

Content Rating PGRating: PG (It’s clean, but there is some minor violence with fights, mean words, and bullies.)

Recommendation: Middle Graders (4th-6th) and up

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

 

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2y9OCsu

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

mustaches for maddie Wonder by R.J. Palacio  the hundred dresses
 

Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos

Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos

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Book Review of Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos

I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels. Or comic books. I have to admit that I haven’t read many of them because they just don’t interest me. My kids, however, like them a lot. In an effort to be a good example and try a new genre, I offered to join the blog tour for this book. So what did I think? Did this book change my opinion of graphic novels? What about my kids? Did they enjoy it? Find out in my book review of Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos.

Blurb:

In this funny, action-packed graphic novel adventure, a science-obsessed girl finds herself in the middle of one of her favorite monster movies. Can she invent her way out of disaster while also saving the monster who has become her friend?

Zoe’s favorite thing to do–besides invent and build robots–is watch classic monster movies. She has never been comfortable with kids her own age, and so she pretends she doesn’t need friends while inside she’s longing for connection. And then one day, Zoe finds a mysterious ring on her way home from school. She puts it on, gives it a twist, and–FRZAAKK! There’s a massive burst of light! The next morning, a familiar monster appears at Zoe’s window. He’s from one of her favorite kaiju movies, and he likes Zoe–he wants to be her friend. Has her secret wish been fulfilled? But it turns out that Zoe’s ring has brought more than just this friendly monster to life. More monsters have arrived, and they are hungry! Now she’ll need to reach out to other people to help her save her town from destruction. Good thing she’s a robotics genius!

My Book Review:

Well, I have to say that Monster Mayhem is actually a pretty cute book. The main characters are super cute. Zoe is a darling character. I love how smart she is! She will be a great example to all the girls that read this book. Unfortunately, Zoe is dealing with something that is all too common: not having any friends. And then when she finally does make a friend, she gets hurt. Ouch! I think we all know how that feels. So, emotionally, she just shuts down.

Zoe’s parents and teachers express the importance of friends, and she won’t have anything to do with friends. She’s so anti-friend that she creates a robot to be her companion. And then the monsters start showing up. Oh no! Through a series of events (sorry, I’m not going to tell you what happens), Zoe learns some great lessons.

The illustrations in Monster Mayhem are so fun! They are bright, colorful, and well done. I particularly love the facial expressions of each of the characters. There are different fonts and font colors to distinguish the characters, so it’s easy to figure out who’s talking. I love Zoe’s goggles! As a mom, I know that sometimes you have to pick your clothing battles! Whether it’s the cowboy boots, the princess dress, or the goggles, you just have to roll with it.

This is a fun book! I did enjoy it, and I especially liked the lessons that Zoe learned. Two of my kids read this book as well. Here are their thoughts:

I liked the drawings and the moral of the story.

            ~15 year-old boy

The illustrations are adorable, cute, and sweet. It was a little strange at times, but still cute. I liked that the girl learned that friends are important.

            ~10 year-old girl

Girls will especially like this book, but boys will like it too! For those kids who are into comic books or who don’t like reading, this book will definitely be a great option for them! I still don’t love the graphic novel format, but this book opened my eyes to the potential of graphic novels. It’s a fun story with colorful illustrations and a great moral—what else could a mom or teacher wish for?

Content Rating PGRating: PG (Clean! There are some monsters, and they might scare some very small children, but they aren’t too scary. There’s some minor violence when they’re fighting the monsters.)

Recommendation: As a silent read: 2nd-3rd grade, as a read-aloud: K and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2nYHRVN

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Golden Plates 1 Adapted by Michael Allred Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl  Mr Poppers Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
 

Book Review of Carnival Magic by Amy Ephron

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Book Review of Carnival Magic by Amy Ephron

This book just showed up in the mail one day! Fun, right? I love bookmail, and surprise bookmail is even better! Needless to say, I was excited to read this. I’m always looking for fun, new middle-grader reads, and I had high hopes for this one. What could be more magical than a carnival at night with the lights, rides, acts, animals, interesting people, and yummy smells? Check out my book review of Carnival Magic by Amy Ephron to see what I thought!

Blurb:

“Tess and Max are back in England for another summer with their Aunt Evie—this time by the seashore in South Devon. And they’re incredibly excited about the travelling carnival that’s come to town. There are rides, games, and acrobats, The House of Mirrors—and even a psychic, with a beautiful wagon all her own.

In a visit to the psychic’s wagon, while Tess is being hypnotized, the wagon seems to move. Before Tess can shake herself out of the hypnosis, before Max can do anything, they seem to be travelling—along with the rest of the carnival—too quickly for the two of them to jump out. But where are they going and what awaits them? Will they be caught in a world different from their own? And do the Baranova twins, acrobats who miss their sister almost as much as Tess and Max miss their family, hold the keys to the mystery?

Internationally bestselling author Amy Ephron returns with a companion novel to The Castle in the Mist and creates a magical tale filled with adventure, mystery, fantasy, family, and fun.”

My Book Review:

Let me start off by saying that as I read I got the feeling that there was a book previous to this one. I didn’t know for sure that there is another book until after I finished this one. There may have been some things I would have understood more if I had read the first book. This book starts out as an adventure when Tess and Max’s mom drops them off at the airport. They fly by themselves from the United States to England. They’re going to stay with their Aunt Evie  for the summer.

Aunt Evie seems like the perfect, fun aunt. She has a fun cottage by the ocean and picks up tickets to the zoo on the way home from the airport. While at the zoo, strange things start to happen. The zookeeper allows her to run in for just a few minutes, 6 ½ to be exact. In those 6 ½ minutes she sees a baby tiger in pain and pulls a pin out of its paw. I think that’s exciting, but what? I’ve never been to a zoo that has the tigers available to touch through a rod iron fence. I’m good with fantasy though, so ok, I’ll keep reading. I didn’t quite understand the reason behind the 6 ½ minutes, but I figured it’d be explained later on.

The next day, Aunt Evie takes the kids to a roadside carnival. She allows them to spend most of the day by themselves while she checks out a local antique store. The plan is that she’ll meet them at 1:30 by the big dinosaur. Well, a lot happens before 1:30! It gets a little weird! Tess goes into a psychic’s trailer to be hypnotized and the carnival ends up moving. Magically. In minutes the kids are transported to who-knows-where. The strange thing is that it’s not the same carnival they end up in.

Honestly, from here on out I was a bit confused. The characters that the kids meet are fun and interesting, especially Tatiana, Alexei, Tara, Anna, and Julian. Maybe it’s my old brain (but I usually like middle-grader books!), but I just didn’t understand. Why? How? What purpose? The carnival moved, but they ended up at a different carnival. So, they had to be the ones to move, not the carnival, right? They kept talking about a ghost carnival, but which one was the ghost carnival? Was it the second one or the third one, or both?

The whole part about them escaping really confused me. What? You want two kids and a horse to do what? How? The 6 ½ minute thing was used a few more times, but never explained, so that was a big hole. Also, how time worked at the different carnivals confused me. I don’t want to give anything away, but it just really didn’t make sense.

The writing is descriptive and engaging and the characters are fun and personable. This book has so much potential! Unfortunately, it just falls flat. There are a bunch of holes and unanswered questions, and I felt like things weren’t explained well enough. If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know that I’m good with middle-grader books. I’ve read and loved many of them. This one, however, just has too many holes. I would also recommend reading the first book because it may answer some of the questions I had. I’m going to hand it to my nine-year-old, have her read it, and I’ll let you know what she says.  

Content Rating PGRating: PG (It’s clean! There isn’t any profanity, violence, or “intimacy.” There are a few kind of tense, scary-ish parts.)

Recommendation: Middle-graders (4th-6th grades) and up

My Rating: 3/5 

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2JFmRwg

 

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Make a Teacher Happy: Prevent Summer Brain!

Summer Fit 2-3

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Prevent Summer Brain with Summer Fit Workbooks!

Remember last fall when the kids went back to school and had forgotten most of what they’d learned the previous year? It’s called…Summer Brain. Ouch! All of that work–gone. How do you prevent Summer Brain? You have to be a mean mom and make the kids use their brains this summer. I know, it’s hard. I’ve grown callous to the mean summer mom eye rolls because I’ve been doing it for so long.  It’s a good thing, I promise.
 
I’ve tried a few different things like printing off my own packets, workbooks, and online programs. I finally settled on the Summer Fit workbooks. It’s so easy and mom friendly!
 

Why Use Summer Fit Workbooks to Prevent Summer Brain?

I have used the Summer Fit workbooks for a few years now, and I LOVE them!!! They have a level for each grade in elementary school (they start with pre-K and go to 8th grade), which is great. The workload is the perfect amount. Each day there is a page of reading and a page of math. It isn’t super hard, but it is hard enough to keep the kids from forgetting everything over the summer.
 
I love the Friday material. Every Friday is a value (compassion, determination…..that kind of thing), and it highlights a person who exemplifies that value. The kids do activities surrounding that value and person. Also, each day has an exercise for the kids to do. It’s not hard, but it gets them up and moving. And the great thing about these books is that it eliminates all the mom-work. There’s no searching the internet or printing off individual worksheets; it’s all right there in the book. It makes mom’s job so much easier!!! They even have a book for 7th and 8th graders, which is great because it’s harder to know what the older kids need. I highly recommend the Summer Fit workbooks!
 
 

Content Rating GRating: G (clean!!!)

 Recommendation: Pre-K to 8th grade

 

Which One Is Right For You?

(If you’d like to purchase a workbook, click on the image below.)

This post was first published on 5/23/16; Updated on 5/11/18.

Book Review of Janitors by Tyler Whitesides

Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides

Book Review of Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides

 What is going on at Welcher Elementary? What are those crazy things Spencer can see in his classrooms and in the halls? Why can’t anyone else see them? And what does the school janitor have to do with it? Who can he trust? My children and I have loved this book. It’s so fun! I hope you enjoy my book review of Janitors by Tyler Whitesides.

Blurb:

No one takes Spencer Zumbro seriously when he tries to warn his classmates about the mysterious things prowling the halls and classrooms of Welcher Elementary School. But when he sees Marv, the janitor, going after one of the creatures with a vacuum, he knows he’s not the only one who can see them.

With the help of his new friend, Daisy, Spencer has to find out what the janitors know. The children’s search uncovers the magic taking place behind the scenes of their seemingly ordinary school, where a battle is being waged for the minds of the students. Who can be trusted—and can Spencer and Daisy protect their school and possibly the world?

My Book Review:

My boys (ages 11 and 10) read this book awhile ago and have been telling me and telling me and telling me that I need to read it. They loved it. It made it even better that Tyler Whitesides actually came to their school and signed their book. I had so many other books to read that I hadn’t gotten around to it…until now.

If you’ve read my blog before, you have probably heard me say that I taught first grade before I had children. When I go back to teaching, I will not see the school in the same light. Ever. Do you trust the janitors? Or are they the bad guys? And please don’t tell me those creepy things are in my kids’ school too!

This book is a fun and fast read. It is filled with betrayal, action, crazy dust creatures, friendship, big messes, and lots of cleaning supplies. And these are no ordinary cleaning supplies! Mr. Whitesides has created a fun and exciting world filled with magic and secrets.

The characters are well developed and realistic. I could picture the principal perfectly. I loved the descriptions of him. Spencer and Daisy seem like cute, normal kids. I thought they were childish enough that it felt realistic, yet brave enough to make it exciting. Spencer’s mom is the best! She’s awesome, and I could definitely see myself acting that way in order to protect one of my children.

The janitors are a little crazy, but great characters. I really enjoyed learning about how the creatures affected the students. Hahaha!!! Now we know why we tend to fall asleep in class, or why we sometimes get distracted while we walk down the hallways. Did I mention the cleaning supplies? I want some of them. Yep, I think I want a broom. That would be great!

 The story line was a little predictable, but it didn’t stop me from reading. It still has enough action and adventure, along with a few surprises, to be exciting. I liked this book a lot and I know the kids love it! And, the best part? It’s clean! Love it! I highly recommend this book! Now……I just need to dig through my kids’ rooms to find book #2!

Content Rating PG+ Rating: PG+ (There’s no profanity or “intimacy.” One of the main characters does die. It’s sad but not detailed or gruesome. They do fight the bad guys and the bad creatures, so there is some minor violence.)

Recommendation: 3rd grade and up (Middle-Graders)

Rating: 4/5

4 Star Rating

To purchase this book, click here: http://amzn.to/2pq4Wkw

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Mysteries of Cove by J. Scott Savage Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye  Fablehaven book #1 by Brandon Mull

(This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra and I receive a small commission.)

This post was first published on 8/30/13; updated on 3/20/18