Saturday, April 25, 2020

Voyagers: The Third Ghost by Yvonne Ventresca

Voyagers: The Third Ghost is a collection of 10 diverse historical fantasy short stories that was sent to me by the publisher. Voyagers will be released on May 5th, 2020!

This book is an interesting concept because not only does it introduce 10 emerging authors in a skillful publicity angle, but contains unique stories that redefine traditional historical fiction by including magical elements from time travel to talking trees. Voyagers was super fun to read and I hope that you read it, too when this book is released next month!

1. The Third Ghost by Yvonne Ventresca
This story was suspenseful and epic! I loved the twist at the end and the careful foreshadowing. Now I can't wait to read her first book, Pandemic!

2. The Ghosts of Pompeii by Sherry Ellis
This is based on Ellis' main book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China. This story was very unique in the fact that it was not only historical fiction, but mixed in elements from fantasy and scifi novels, like ghosts and time travel. Part of it was also really funny!

3. The Blind Ship by Bish Denham
I appreciate the morals of the young boy, viewing African Americans as humans and not slaves. The story is inspirational and highlights some of the terrors of slavery. This was a bizarre, wonderful story with the Opthalimia dilemma. The Blind Ship was very suspenseful and fun! 

4. Dare, Double Dare by Louise MacBeath Barbour
The genetic aspect of the magical ability to time travel was intriguing. I enjoyed the diversity with French being frequently spoken. Dare, Double Dare is also educational, as before I did not know about the Habitation at Port-Royal.

5. Return to Cahokia by L.T. Ward
The plot was super creative! I loved imagining the children creating weather and changing lives. It sounds like such a giant responsibility, being Weather Gods, and I enjoyed the abundance of painful emotion, but also hope and happiness from the characters. Return to Cahokia stands out with its Native American heritage of the Cahokia tribe and their Nahuatl language. The village is thought to have demised due to extreme weather (, so I love the mixing of mythology and historical fiction.

6. Feathered Fire by Ronald Clarke
Feathered Fire is my favorite story of them all. The mythical legend of the Zharptica (firebird) partnered with a powerful, inspirational female heroine in the middle of a war zone made this story epic! I loved the symbolism of the firebird and the central idea of being "reborn" from the flames, free and safe after this war.

7. The Orchard by Beth Anderson Schuck
The Orchard is the most beautiful story, a calming bliss that nature can provide. In the story, Nels is a girl who has a unique connection with nature, who can hear the trees speak to her. I found the idea lovely.

8. Simon Grey and the Yamamba by Charles Kowalski 
I read Kowalski's Simon Grey and the March of a Thousand Ghosts, so I was very excited to read a sequel of sorts! I was not disappointed. It had the perfect balance between creepy and funny. This short story was cute, satisfying, and educational in Japanese folklore.

9. A World of Trouble by Rebecca Douglass
I didn't necessarily enjoy this one as much as the previous stories, as it sent conflicting messages- on one hand, it is bad to sneak out of your house and travel without your parents at such a young age, but on the other hand without these kids, this disaster would have been a whole lot worse. However the dilemma of saving themselves and their homes from drowning was interesting to read about- I was definitely holding my breath by the end!

10. Winter Days by Katharina Gerlach
While taking place in Germany, the concept is still very relatable with border conflicts. I enjoyed the themes of family and the ideals of having the brightness in humanity inside everyone. I loved the description of almost freezing to death- I almost felt as if I was!

Title: Voyagers: The Third Ghost
Author(s):  Yvonne Ventresca, Sherry Ellis, Bish Denham, Charles Kowalski, Katharina Gerlach, Roland Clarke, Rebecca M. Douglass, Beth Anderson Schuck, Louise MacBeath Barbour, and L.T. Ward
Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press
Pages: 168
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Monday, April 20, 2020

Boon on the Moon by John Huddles

50164283. sx318 sy475 Boon on the Moon is a middle grade science fiction story that is perfect for younger readers who have an interest in space with a big imagination! This book was sent to me by the author. ten-year-old Byron, nicknamed "Boon" is always getting into trouble on Earth. From his wacky inventions to running away to explore caves, he is a handful to say the least. But when his family gets the chance to travel to a colony on the moon, Byron has the chance to redeem himself by using his creativity to save the world from a White Wormhole.

If you enjoyed Frozen Secrets, you'll love this read! The hypothetical scenario of this White Worm (wormhole theory, or formally known as the Einstein-Rosen bridge theory), was super fun to read about! I enjoy that despite how complicated the idea actually is, Huddles shaped this theory into a circumstance that actually seemed straightforward and rather simple to understand. Honestly, the pages explaining the creation of the White Worm should be on Wikipedia or Kids Britannica. This approach is also impressive and unexpected considering Huddles' track record with his recent film, The Philosophers, being a R-rated thriller. But that background was particularly useful for having an immense amount of suspense and excitement.

Boon on the Moon is a fun, creative read that can encourage curiosity and enthusiasm for science. Some of the plot was extremely unexpected and I enjoyed some of the similarities to The Martian. I enjoyed the conclusion of the book and how it summed up future generations nicely. Even if one is not a 10-year-old boy, I still liked the story with its heavy involvement in science. However, one complaint I have is that the emphasis of Bryon's overactive imagination sometimes made it slightly confusing for me to distinguish between reality and daydream.

I recommend that you read this book!

Title: Boon on the Moon
Author: John Huddles
Publisher: Notable Kids Publishing
Pages: 216
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Death by Midnight (The Secret Life of Anna Goode Book 1) by Nicole Nadeau

48860597. sy475 Death by Midnight is a YA realistic fiction mystery book that I received from the author. Anna Goode is a teenage genius and secretly uses her intelligence to build gadgets and other miscleansious inventions. When Russian terrorists kidnap her parents, they make a demand- Anna and her best friend Jake must build a bioweapon and outsmart the CIA- or else her parents die.

Jake is the best friend one could ask for. He's one of the most loyal characters I have ever read, and I love his strive to save Anna no matter the mortal danger to himself. Anna is truly remarkable, not just for her genius IQ and invention skills, but for her moral drive to save her parents and her vastly creative critical thinking skills. Her courage is extraordinary and I admire her ability to stay calm and logical in extreme situations. Everybody's moral compass is a little off, and I enjoyed the internal conflict on Anna's part of doing the right thing or getting her family back. In the coming books, I hope a romance between Anna and Jake can be explored.

Death by Midnight is quite a Goode, (see what I did there) fun read! This book is also very relevant today with the Covid-19 outbreak. It is extremely action-packed with plenty of gripping fight scenes. The fights are very detailed and are thrilling in its fast pace. My only complaint is that some of them seem a little unbelievable. I love the suspense and anxiety of the time limit and guessing the mysterious parts along the way. The writing is clean and descriptive. Death by Midnight is a story I will totally read again!

I recommend that you read this book!

Title: Death by Midnight (The Secret Life of Anna Goode Book 1)
Author: Nicole Nadeau
Publisher: Nicole Nadeau
Pages: 303
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Dust by J.R. Devoe

Dust is the first post-apocalyptic fairy tale book I received from the author. Dust is released today! In the future when Earth is mostly dead and humans mostly extinct, intergalactic pixies arrive through a magic gateway to prepare the planet for new settlers. Alien Nya, with the power to harness sonic vibrational frequencies to turn things to dust, discovers that humans still remain on Earth, and befriends a human boy, Dexa. After reporting their existence, she hopes that her kind will leave. But instead, antagonist Jexa sets to kill them. Nya decides to follow in her mother's footsteps and lead a giant rebellion against Jexa to save what is left of humanity.

Nya is courageous and one of the bravest protagonists I have ever encountered. Her drive to help humanity and do the right thing despite the serious danger of losing her life was incredible to read. I loved the inspiring message of being the spark of light in the dark and being kind to those who are different than you- something we should follow today in these dark times.

I loved Dexa's drive to save his own people, as well as Nya. I enjoyed the hint of romance between the two that I predict will be explored further in the coming installation. I enjoyed how their complex relationship did not hinder or distract from the plot development. The future scenario of a destroyed environment will quite frankly a possibility, and I enjoyed how while the book was very fantasy, there were hints of reality embedded.

Growing up, I have been obsessed with fairies and magic, so Dust was super fun for me to read. The cover is absolutely stunning and I love the magic glow surrounding Nya. Speaking of magic, the imagery surrounding her powers, especially near the end, was terrific and I enjoyed the increase of her ability and confidence in herself by the end. I loved the ending being filled with happiness and anxiousness and sadness all at the same time. I enjoy that there was a firm conclusion to keep readers satisfied, but also a gateway (no pun intended) to a huge problem with exciting promise for another story.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: Dust
Author: J.R. Devoe
Publisher: Evening Star Publishing
Pages: 217
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars
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