All posts by S.W.Lothian | Author

New Kids Movie Trailer | Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip | 2015

Hiya, This is just a quick post to let you know that I’ve added a new kid’s movie trailer to my KIDS MOVIE TRAILERS page.

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS | THE ROAD CHIP (2015)

Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in New York City – and dump them. They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal.. (IMDB)

If you liked that, then click the MOVIE TRAILERS link at the top of this page or click on the MOVIES category in the right hand margin to see all of the other new and favourite trailer links I’ve posted.


Omni Box Panel v1.0.

PS. If you have already read the series, it would be great if you could take a couple of minutes to share your thoughts with a quick review at Amazon on the Omnibus Edition :)


 

YA Book Tour| Sons of the Sphinx | Cheryl Carpinello

Sons of the Sphinx - New Banner

I am very pleased to be part of a wonderful book tour organised by My Family’s Heart. I read this book late last year and would love to share my review. As a thank you for dropping by, My Family’s Heart and Cheryl Carpinello are offering a great prize of a $50 Amazon/ PayPal Gift Card in an exclusive giveaway. Look for the ‘enter to win’ button after my review.


Sons of the SphinxSONS OF THE SPHINX
by Cheryl Carpinello
Kindle edition supplied by author

GENRE | YA Historical Time Travel
PUBLISHED | Oct 10, 2014
LENGTH | 192 pages
PUBLISHER | Beyond Today Educator
COVER ARTIST | Bernistevens Design

The Prophecy: Behold, when the last boy pharaoh is awakened, he will have one chance to right the wrong. United with a spirit vessel from the future, he must seek to find the one robbed of his reign, who will lead the way to the tomb of the boy pharaoh’s lost queen.

There must the confrontation with the usurper be held and the presentation of his confession to the old priests be given. If the usurper holds his tenth Jubilee and is allowed to acknowledge his son as his successor, the wrong will not be righted, and the queen will remain lost to her pharaoh forever.

Armed with what she considers her grandmother’s curse, 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena. Thrust back into Ancient Egypt with Tut, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do. She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemheb – who crosses mortal boundaries using Seth’s evil magic – if she is to stay alive to make it back home. (Goodreads)

2014 Literary Classics Seal of Approval
2014 Finalist in Literary Classics Book Award


My Review

I have read and reviewed the prequel to this one, Tutankhamen Speaks, and was pleased to nab a copy from the author to continue the story.  This is an original time travel adventure that gives a fresh new perspective from the view of Tut himself. The main character, Rosa, is a modern-day girl who has a gift that allows her to speak with the dead (a gift that she’s not really too thrilled about). Tut contacts her and convinces her that she has a role to play in reuniting his spirit with that of his great love, Hesena.

After a little convincing and debating within her own mind, Rosa agrees to help him. As they embark through time to find the clues she finds that Tut is at times rather cool towards her, and he never gives her much information. Just enough, but never too much.  As she finds herself falling for him, she fights the feelings as she knows that there is no future for them to be together. The thing is, that she has part of Tut’s great love’s spirit within her, so it’s a battle in her mind to know which feelings are her and which are not. Tut is very guarded and he continually switches between his ruler persona and a more personal one. This becomes quite frustrating for Rosa.

The book effectively compares old to new life, revealing that the underlying needs of the characters are the same, whether ancient or modern. They all want to be with the ones they care for. Tut with Hesena, and Rosa to return home to her family. Rosa has always been a fan of ancient Egypt and had long built up the romance of Tut’s story within her own mind. It was a dream come true for her to actually become part of his story, and to help him reunite with his wife in the afterlife, but in reality it is home she craves for.

It’s obvious that Cheryl Carpinello has great interest in ancient Egypt and a great deal of research is evident. The book contained a lot of information and I probably only picked up half of the details, but enough to follow the story. I enjoyed the plot and the original time-travel angle. The book also gave me a different perspective of a curse, by showing it from the view of the curser (Tut’s spirit in his tomb) and it’s impact on the grave robber victims. Karma comes to mind. It also provoked thoughts as to whether archaeologists are any different to ancient grave robbers. They both disturb sacred sites to fulfil their own goals. The main difference (I hope) is the archaeologist’s ultimate goal is preservation rather than instant wealth.

In a nutshell

This was an entertaining time-travel adventure with a twist. It succeeds with a nice blend of fact and fiction. Recommended for fans of ancient Egypt who like a little magic mixed in. A good story for teens and adults who are young at heart.


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.

Buy & TBR Links

AMAZON KINDLE US | AMAZON KINDLE CA |
AMAZON KINDLE UK | AMAZON PAPERBACK |
BARNES & NOBLES PAPERBACK | GOODREADS | SHELFARI


If you’re keen to know more, then you can find more information at any of the following links.

 AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
WEBSITE – MainWEBSITE – Shared
BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOOGLE+
PINTEREST | GOODREADS | SHELFARI


Giveaway

Thanks for dropping by. You could win yourself a
$50 Amazon/PayPal Gift Card
courtesy of My Family’s Heart and Cheryl Carpinello
Just click below to enter.

ENTER-NOW

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This tour has been organized & hosted by

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YA Book Review | Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix | J.K. Rowling

HP 5HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
by J.K. Rowling
Kindle edition

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He is desperate to find out why his friends, Ron and Hermione, have been secretive all summer.

But before he even gets to school, Harry survives a terrifying encounter with two Dementors, attends a court hearing at the Ministry of Magic and is escorted on a night-time broomstick ride to the secret headquarters of a mysterious group called the Order of the Phoenix. – GOODREADS


My Review

Once a HP fan, always a HP fan. It’s one of those amazing series that has charmed the world and continues its magical spell long after the release of the final book. I think this is my fourth read of the series and I notice new details each time. The books are so rich with gems of detail that are waiting to be found. It was another great trip down memory lane, and even more vivid, given that I had travelled to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, at the end of 2014. Every HP fan should go there. The books absolutely come to life. (See some of my pics at the end of this review)

Harry is definitely a lot angrier in this one. It’s understandable, but frustrating at the same time. Sometimes I just wanted him to chill, and think things through logically. But I guess that was the whole point of this book, to explore how Harry coped with feeling that he had been abandoned. He was obviously super angry and frustrated and his feelings were mirrored by Sirius, who was in hiding and also deeply annoyed at his isolation and helplessness.

On the flipside, Ron and Hermione’s playful banter, bordering on annoyance, and tinged with a building affection added some balance. Plus there was Luna Lovegood.

“I think I’ll just go down and have some pudding and wait for it all to turn up – it always does in the end.”

She’s so cool – that’s all I need to say – fans of HP understand that she’s just so fascinating.

The introduction of such a nasty piece of work, Delores Umbridge, added another layer of opposition for Harry to contend with – right at the heart of where he felt the safest – Hogwarts. ‘I must not tell lies’ has been undoubtedly etched into the memory of all readers, along with a million opinions on how we would like to throttle her and her fluffy pink cardigan. Remember this… (Booya!)

DU “Potter, do something! Tell them I mean no harm!”
HP “I’m sorry, Professor… but I must not tell lies.”
DU “What are you doing! I am senior undersecretary Delores Jane Umbridge! LET… ME… GOOOOOOOO!”

So many things happen in this story; Hagrid returns from his giant hunt with a surprise; Mr Weasley is injured, and Harry quietly suspects that he’s Voldemort’s weapon. For some reason I didn’t remember much detail of St Mungo’s from previous reads, so those parts were like a whole new setting to behold.

It’s also a time of discovery for Harry, as he learns of his father’s school-day escapades, whilst attending his Occlumency lessons with Snape. It shows us another side of Snape and provides a window to why he’s like he is, and Harry begins to doubt his father’s character. He internalizes everything and doesn’t talk it over with Hermione and Ron. I’m sorry to say that Harry does annoy me in this book. He’s become too cocky and won’t listen to anyone else, even Dumbledore. So it’s not surprising that we see this climax in an explosive confrontation.

HP5 is a period of enormous growth for Harry. We’ve all seen how he has dealt with extreme situations since his wizarding life began in book 1. But in this book, Harry is growing up. So, in addition to the constant threat from Voldemort and his followers, he is also battling his own feelings and trying to find his way.


In a nutshellEach time I re-read these books I love them more.  A great instalment to the series that takes us through the tough personal conflicts of our hero, while he continues to battle the darkness that lurks all around. It’s a no brainer that this book would appeal to all HP fans.


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


Checkout my other Harry Potter reviews:



As promised here are a few of my thousands of pics from my recent visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
WARNING: There’s lots!! It was a struggle to pick favourites.

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New Kids Movie Trailer | The Secret Life of Pets | 2016

Hiya, This is just a quick post to let you know that I’ve added a new kid’s movie trailer to my KIDS MOVIE TRAILERS page.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (2016)

Taking place in a Manhattan apartment building, Max’s life as a favorite pet is turned upside down, when his owner brings home a sloppy mongrel named Duke. They have to put their quarrels behind when they find out that an adorable white bunny named Snowball is building an army of abandoned pets determined to take revenge on all happy-owned pets and their owners.  (IMDB)

If you liked that, then click the MOVIE TRAILERS link at the top of this page or click on the MOVIES category in the right hand margin to see all of the other new and favourite trailer links I’ve posted.


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New Kids Movie Trailer | Inside Out | 2015

Hiya, This is just a quick post to let you know that I’ve added a new kid’s movie trailer to my KIDS MOVIE TRAILERS page.

INSIDE OUT (2015)

After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school. (IMDB)

If you liked that, then click the MOVIE TRAILERS link at the top of this page or click on the MOVIES category in the right hand margin to see all of the other new and favourite trailer links I’ve posted.


Any advertisments that may occasionally appear below the line are not endorsed by me.


Book Review | The Great Zoo of China| Matthew Reilly

The Great Zoo of China

THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA
by Matthew Reilly
529 pages
Gift – Hardcover edition

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes & Noble
Buy from Book Depository


It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years. They have found a species of animal no one believed even existed. It will amaze the world. Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing discovery within the greatest zoo ever constructed.

A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see its fabulous creatures for the first time. Among them is Dr Cassandra Jane ‘CJ’ Cameron, a writer for National Geographic and an expert on reptiles.

The visitors are assured by their Chinese hosts that they will be struck with wonder at these beasts, that they are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong…

GET READY FOR ACTION ON A GIGANTIC SCALE. – GOODREADS


My Review

There is no doubt that The Great Zoo of China is Jurassic World with dragons. Even Matthew Reilly notes the similarities at the end of the book, but also points out the differences. Similar, or not, I thought this was an exciting and entertaining read.

China has been quietly working for many years creating the most amazing zoo ever. It’s a place that they believe is destined to show the world that they can do anything. Given their ingenuity, I have no doubt they are really capable if creating something of such a scale.

The time to reveal the zoo to the world has come, and a group of influential VIP guests arrive for a sneak peek. These include U.S. Government officials, respected media representatives, and highly regarded animal (crocodile) experts. This is where our main characters, CJ, and her brother, Hamish, come into the story. China’s aim is to totally amaze their guests and let them tell the world about the zoo.

There is a little back story that crops up (something messy had already happened), but it has been swept under the covers. There is no way that China want the reputation of the new zoo tarnished.

It’s during the VIP visit that drama and action take front and centre stage when things start to go wrong and all hell breaks loose. We learn that dragons are actually very intelligent creatures and have their own goals. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’m sure it’s obvious that there are some hard fought battles between humans and beast. In addition to dealing with cranky dragons, there’s even more danger for the VIPs. The zoo officials  are adamant that no word of the problems get out to the world.

Along the way, our heroine, CJ, befriends a yellow dragon and they work together to beat the enemy. This is the point where I had to suspend belief. A herpetologist veterinarian becoming a kick-ass action hero! Hmmmm. Talking to a dragon! Hmmmm. But, other than that it was the classic MR mix that I love, with lots of action, detailed maps, and impossible situations being overcome by sheer ingenuity.


In a nutshell

One thing to note is that it’s the first MR book with a female as the main character. Whether the main protagonist is male or female doesn’t come into my radar, but for those readers who are swayed by the gender of the book’s hero, it’s good to see :)

The Great Zoo of China is a cool book with a wild plot, plenty of action and an impressive setting on a grand scale. I enjoyed the read, but not as much as MR’s other books.


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


If you’re keen to know more, then click below to head on over to Matthew Reilly’s website.

Matthew Reilly site


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New Kids Movie Trailer | The Peanuts Movie | 2015

Hiya, This is just a quick post to let you know that I’ve added a new kid’s movie trailer to my KIDS MOVIE TRAILERS page.

THE PEANUTS MOVIE (2016)

Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home. (IMDB)

If you liked that, then click the MOVIE TRAILERS link at the top of this page or click on the MOVIES category in the right hand margin to see all of the other new and favourite trailer links I’ve posted.


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The Quest Series | Omnibus Edition | Books 1-3 | Now Available

| THE QUEST SERIES | OMNIBUS EDITION |
| Books 1-3 |
| NOW AVAILABLE |

The Quest Series is a time travel adventure that is packed full of exciting action, adventure and mystery. Since its release, it has delighted readers of all ages and received high praise along the way. The first book, The Golden Scarab, was a finalist in the 2013 Readers’ Favorite Awards. Book 4, The Missing Link, is on the way, so this Omnibus Edition (Exclusive to Amazon) lets you catch up and get ready for the series finale.

The Quest Series Omnibox 1-3

| CLICK THE BOX TO GET YOUR COPY |

PS. If you have already read the series, it would be great if you could take a couple of minutes to share your thoughts with a quick review on the exclusive Amazon Omnibus Edition :)

 


Any advertisments that may occasionally appear below the line are not endorsed by me.


New Kids Movie Trailer | Zootopia | 2016

Hiya, This is just a quick post to let you know that I’ve added a new kid’s movie trailer to my KIDS MOVIE TRAILERS page.

ZOOTOPIA (2016)

In the animal city of Zootopia, a fast-talking fox who’s trying to make it big goes on the run when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Zootopia’s top cop, a self-righteous rabbit, is hot on his tail, but when both become targets of a conspiracy, they’re forced to team up and discover even natural enemies can become best friends. (IMDB)

If you liked that, then click the MOVIE TRAILERS link at the top of this page or click on the MOVIES category in the right hand margin to see all of the other new and favourite trailer links I’ve posted.


Any advertisments that may occasionally appear below the line are not endorsed by me.


The Quest Series | Omnibus Edition | Books 1-3 | Now Available

| THE QUEST SERIES | OMNIBUS EDITION |
| Books 1-3 |
| NOW AVAILABLE |

The Quest Series is a time travel adventure that is packed full of exciting action, adventure and mystery. Since its release, it has delighted readers of all ages and received high praise along the way. The first book, The Golden Scarab, was a finalist in the 2013 Readers’ Favorite Awards. Book 4, The Missing Link, is on the way, so this Omnibus Edition (Exclusive to Amazon) lets you catch up and get ready for the series finale.The Quest Series Omnibox 1-3

| CLICK THE BOX TO BUY FOR JUST $3.99 usd |

PS. If you have already read the series, it would be great if you could take a couple of minutes to share your thoughts with a quick review on the exclusive Amazon Omnibus Edition :)

 


Any advertisments that may occasionally appear below the line are not endorsed by me.

EPCOT | Walt Disney World | Florida | Part 2

Our recent visit to EPCOT was the first time we had been there in 15 years. It’s a big park, so we were prepared for lots of walking, and being so big, it gives the impression that the crowds aren’t as large. Make sure that you check your map while you visit, because it’s easy to miss things because many of the attractions are spread out. We didn’t realise that there was a Soarin’ ride until after we left :(

Here is a little something I tracked down while preparing this post. It’s a great video of a TV special that aired in 1982 to celebrate the opening of EPCOT. It’s very dated, but retro is ‘in’ so therefore it’s perfect to include. The show starts at about the 2 minute mark (anything before that is just opening credits etc). You may just want to skim through it, but be sure to keep an eye out for a real surprise a little past the 10 minute mark. If you do, tell me in the comments below who you see.


World Showcase

The World Showcase is a trip around the world, where you get to see the sights, hear the sounds, and taste the foods of countries from all over the world. Each of the eleven countries is a zone, all of which surround a huge central lake. It’s a great way to travel the world without the airport lines or luggage problems. We didn’t stay into the night, but there is a wonderful IllumiNations light and fireworks spectacular above the lake each night.

The detail in the buildings is brilliant (as expected from Disney), but personally I’d prefer each country to have a central ‘fun’ attraction above and beyond the food and setting. Some do, some don’t. I guess it’s just personal preference as to what you are expecting from this park. I think kids would be less interested in this section of the park than parents.

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World Showcase – Mexico.
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World Showcase – Mexico – The indoor night markets are a great first stop and we also rode on the Gran Fiesta Tour, which is a boat ride to discover the sights of Mexico.
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World Showcase – Norway
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World Showcase – China
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World Showcase – Germany
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World Showcase – Germany
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World Showcase – Italy
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World Showcase – Japan
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World Showcase – France
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World Showcase – United Kingdom. Disney are the masters of gardens and landscaping. The UK gardens stood out as being particularly nice.
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World Showcase – United Kingdom. I loved the UK buildings. The detail was amazing.
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World Showcase – Canada

The Sum of All Thrills ™

This was an unexpected find in one of the showcase pavilions. It’s a motion-simulator ride where you get to design your very own roller-coaster and then get to experience it with virtual reality. The level of thrill is based completely on your own design and the mathematics behind it. So if you like tame coasters it’s tame, but if you’re after high thrills then make sure you cram as many twists and turns into your design as possible.

Riders are strapped into seats and then a canopy is lowered over them. The only thing left visible to spectators are the dangling feet of the rider (see our video above). So, you’re sitting on the end of a robotic arm and being tipped, twisted, turned upside down and swooping from side to side. That’s what this one is all about. It’s great fun as you virtually ride the coaster that you personally designed in 3D.

You also get a link to relive your coaster online when you get home. Click the link here and then input the code 3R93UHZ if you want to see what we designed and rode.


In a nutshellEPCOT  is a great park to spend a day that’s a bit different to the other Disney  theme parks. It’s more exhibition, less fun, but worth the visit. I think that kids (and me) would love the thrill rides, while adults are more likely to drool over the details of the World Showcase.

Families need to balance the experiences to keep everyone happy (or split up for the day and meet up with each other later on).

Click here if you missed part 1 of our EPCOT visit.


Be sure to take a look at my other posts about our travels as they go live, or check my previous Travel Adventures posts for the ones already published. If you’re not a current follower, just click the FOLLOW button on the sidebar.

PS: I have no affiliation or relationship with WDW, except that I am a customer and fan.


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Help Me Choose My Next YA Read

Having read and enjoyed The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner series’ over the past year, I find myself keen to discover a new YA book or series that I can sink my teeth into. There is no doubt that there are a bazillion great reads out there, but I’m hoping visitors to my site can throw some recommendations and ideas my way.

I’ve scoured the net (well, a little bit of it anyway) and listed quite a collection of some contenders below. I would really appreciate it if you could cast a vote (or make a suggestion) at the end of this post to help with this life changing decision. (FYI – if it’s too heavy on romance, then it’s probably not what I’m looking for)


Nil | Lynne Matson

NilOn the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days–to escape, or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time. – GOODREADS.


Hungry | H.A. Swain

HungryIn the future, food is no longer necessary—until Thalia begins to feel something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. She’s hungry.

In Thalia’s world, there is no need for food—everyone takes medication (or “inocs”) to ward off hunger. It should mean there is no more famine, no more obesity, no more food-related illnesses, and no more war. At least that’s what her parents, who work for the company that developed the inocs, say. But when Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that most people live a life much different from hers. Worse, Thalia is starting to feel hunger, and so is he—the inocs aren’t working. Together they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food.

H. A. Swain delivers an adventure that is both epic and fast-paced. Get ready to be Hungry.- GOODREADS


The Doomsday Code | TimeRiders 3 | Alex Scarrow

The Doomsday CodeLiam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912.
Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010.
Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026.

But all three have been given a second chance—to work for an agency that no one knows exists. Its purpose: to prevent time travel destroying history…

In 1993 British computer hacker Adam Lewis finds his name in a coded manuscript that is almost one thousand years old. How did Adam’s name get in there… and why?

Confronted by Adam in 2001, the TimeRiders travel back to Sherwood Forest in 1193 to discover the origins of the ancient message. But when a strange hooded man appears interested in the same thing, they begin to wonder what terrible threat this cryptic link from the past holds for the future…  – GOODREADS


After the Snow | S.D. Crockett

After the SnowFifteen-year-old Willo was out hunting when the trucks came and took his family away. Left alone in the snow, Willo becomes determined to find and rescue his family, and he knows just who to talk with to learn where they are. He plans to head across the mountains and make Farmer Geraint tell him where his family has gone.

But on the way across the mountain, he finds Mary, a refugee from the city, whose father is lost and who is starving to death. The smart thing to do would be to leave her alone — he doesn’t have enough supplies for two or the time to take care of a girl — but Willo just can’t do it. However, with the world trapped in an ice age, the odds of them surviving on their own are not good. And even if he does manage to keep Mary safe, what about finding his family? – GOODREADS


The 5th Wave : Book 1 | Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave Book 1After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. – GOODREADS


The Compound | S.A. Bodeen

The CompoundEli and his family have lived in the underground Compound for six years. The world they knew is gone, and they’ve become accustomed to their new life. Accustomed, but not happy.

For Eli, no amount of luxury can stifle the dull routine of living in the same place, with only his two sisters, his father and mother, doing the same thing day after day after day.

As problems with their carefully planned existence threaten to destroy their sanctuary—and their sanity—Eli can’t help but wonder if he’d rather take his chances outside.

Eli’s father built the Compound to keep them safe. But are they safe—or sorry?   – GOODREADS


The Eye of Minds | Mortality Doctrine 1 | James Dashner

The Eye of MindsMichael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.  And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team. But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever. – GOODREADS


The Rule of Three | Eric Walters

The Rule of ThreeOne shocking afternoon, computers around the globe shut down in a viral catastrophe. At sixteen-year-old Adam Daley’s high school, the problem first seems to be a typical electrical outage, until students discover that cell phones are down, municipal utilities are failing, and a few computer-free cars like Adam’s are the only vehicles that function.

Driving home, Adam encounters a storm tide of anger and fear as the region becomes paralyzed. Soon—as resources dwindle, crises mount, and chaos descends—he will see his suburban neighborhood band together for protection. And Adam will understand that having a police captain for a mother and a retired government spy living next door are not just the facts of his life but the keys to his survival, in The Rule of Three by Eric Walters.  – GOODREADS


Enclave | Ann Aguirre

EnclaveNew York City residents, decimated by war and plague, live underground in Enclaves, barely past age 20. Deuce 15, trained as Huntress, pairs with odd Fade, who was boy Topside. Elders ignore warning, exile both. Monster Freaks, more organized, killed nearest Enclave. Guided by old memories, in gang-infested ruins, pair face apocalyptic world with new dangers and feelings. – GOODREADS


The Book Thief | Markus Zusak

The Book TheifIt’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.  – GOODREADS


 


MG Book Review | Frankie DuPont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco| Julie Anne Grasso

Frankie DuPont 2

FRANKIE DUPONT AND THE LEMON FESTIVAL FIASCO (FD2)
by Julie Anne Grasso
Published April 2015
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Kindle edition
Ages | 8-12

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Hot off cracking his first official case, Frankie Dupont is on the scene when his new teacher takes ill. The pint-sized detective suspects a classic case of sour grapes, but the evidence leads him to the one place he wouldn’t mind avoiding for the rest of his natural life.

Enderby Manor has a few more secrets up her sleeve, and as Frankie begins to unravel them, he uncovers a plot stinkier than a sardine sandwich.

In Book 2 of the Frankie Dupont Mysteries, Frankie will make some new friends, upset some old ones, and of course, there will be lemon meringue pie.

For ages 8-12 – GOODREADS


My Review

Frankie DuPonte returns to our shelves and ereaders in his second juicy case. This trainee private investigator is keen as mustard to earn his stripes and, as with his previous case, some sweet treats have a starring role. In this new story, a simple Lemon Pie is the starting point of a mystery that just keeps growing and growing and growing.

Every clue solved by Frankie creates even more questions, and there’s no beating around the bush with his feisty questioning technique. When Frankie is on the case, there’s only way to get to the bottom of things … accuse first, then backtrack if he’s wrong. Perhaps his biggest flaw, as with any rookie, is his tendency to jump to conclusions, and mistakenly think he has solved the case in a flash.

Even being wrong at times is something that doesn’t seem to faze him in his search for the truth. I’m sure that as he further learns his craft he will find that tact and trickery can also be a good approach, but until then, I can see his methods getting him in trouble. Even so, he always seems to walk away with some useful information.

This is a great book for would be sleuths. I can imagine young readers keenly looking for, and picking up the evidence along the way. It has a good pace for the target audience and there are plenty of good clues ready to discover. I thought that the logic behind them, and the paths on which they sent Frankie, were believable and well thought out. The plot also teaches that you shouldn’t jump to conclusions too early and highlights the importance of strong evidence.

I also liked Frankie’s recollections of his father’s advice, even if they weren’t entirely accurate most of the time. As a parent, it was nice to see that he had such belief and admiration in his father.

In the end, all of the clues and trails lead to the Lemon Festival in the grounds of Enderby Manor, which is a fitting location for the story’s climax. Then, just like the mysteries of that other (much older) super sleuth (Agatha Christie), once all the suspects are present and all the clues click into place, Frankie shines in the big reveal. It’s another case solved, and I’m sure there are many more to come.


In a nutshell

This is another fun filled Frankie mystery that will definitely interest young budding detectives.

It’s a great mystery that starts with a humble pie and ends in … I’m not telling.

Recommended for ages 8+.


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


MG Book Review | Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes | Eleanor Coerr

Sadako and the Thousand Paper CranesSADAKO AND THE THOUSAND PAPER CRANES
by Eleanor Coerr
Published by Puffin Books
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Paperback edition

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PROLOGUE
‘Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is based on the life of a real little girl who lived in Japan from 1943 to 1955.
She was in Hiroshima when the United States Air Force dropped an atom bomb on that city in an attempt to end World War II. Ten years later she died as a result of radiation from the bomb. Her courage made Sadako a heroine to children in Japan.  This is the story of Sadako.’


Guest Reviewer – My Daughter, Madi.

Given her own recent battle with cancer, this book resonated with my 10-year-old daughter when she read it. So much so that she has set herself a goal of making a thousand paper cranes before the end of this year. I thought it would be fitting for this post to include her review of Sadako.

‘This book is about a Japanese girl called Sadako. On the 6th August 1954, when Sadako was two years old, there was an atom bomb dropped by the U.S.A  near her home in Hiroshima, Japan.

Sadako was very good at running at school, she hoped to get picked for the school running team. When she was 12 she started getting dizzy spells especially when she was running. One day she passed out when she was running and was taken to hospital. That’s when they found out she had Leukaemia from the radiation from the atom bomb. She needed to stay in hospital but her parents weren’t allowed to stay with her over night.

One afternoon her best friend from school, Chizuko, visited Sadako and made her a golden paper crane. She reminded Sadako about the ancient Japanese legend that if a sick person folds 1000 cranes they with become healthy again. Chizuko showed Sadako how to make a paper crane, she didn’t find it very easy at the start but after a while of practice she got the hang of it! When Sadako’s family came to visit she showed them her special golden crane. Her brother promised that he would hang all of the cranes she makes from the roof.

Although she was becoming more weak by the minute, she kept telling herself “I’ve got to keep folding the cranes!” She tried to fold as many cranes as she could before she became too weak to fold anymore. Sadly she only managed to fold 644 cranes before she died. All of her classmates completed the remaining 356 cranes and all 1000 cranes were buried with her. In Japan, there is a statue of Sadako holding a huge crane.

I would strongly recommend this book for good readers that like true stories. It is a short story so it won’t take long to read. It is very sad, although I found it quite interesting. If I would rate this book out of a 10 it would definitely be an 11/10.’

By Madi


In a nutshell

My thoughts on this book. It’s a story that highlights a dark time in history. Sadako was an innocent victim who had to make the best of the cards she had been dealt. Childhood cancer is a tough road, and every child who goes through the journey is a hero. We are so proud of our own daughter and her fight.

Thanks to the author for sharing this story with the world. It’s so great that the battle of a young girl like Sadako continues to inspire so many, years after her tragic passing.
Recommended for readers 8+.

Note: Although the book states that Sadako didn’t finish her 1000 cranes, my further research has found other sources that say she completed even more. Whether she did or didn’t, it’s the underlying message of her story that is important.


Bonus Information

sadako_statueIf you would like to see what sort of impact brave Sadako has had, then jump over to Wikipedia for more information.

A monument was built in her honour at the Hiroshima Peace Park, Japan. It includes glass displays filled with paper cranes folded and donated by well wishers and supporters.


I thought the following video about an art project by Jeff Brown to honour Sadako was evidence of the endurance of her inspiration.


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


Children’s Book Week 2015 | Kindle Fire HD Giveaway

It’s a great pleasure to be part of the Children’s Book Week 2015 celebrations. If you would like the chance of winning a Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition then keep on reading… below.


Children's Book Week Kindle Kids Edition Giveaway 2015Mother Daughter Book Reviews, in collaboration with the fabulous sponsors listed below, is pleased to be coordinating a giveaway for a Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition 7″ Tablet (+ $50 gift card/ cash).

This giveaway will take place from May 1 to 31, 2015, overlapping with Children’s Book Week (May 4 to 10,2015).


 About the Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition 7″ Tablet

Fire-HD-Kids-Edition-Tablet

The Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet also comes with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited (which means kids get unlimited access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games—at no additional cost!). It includes a quad-core processor for great performance, a vivid HD display, front and rear-facing cameras, and Dolby Audio PLUS comes with a Kid-Proof Case, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee – if they break it, return it and Amazon replaces it for free. No questions asked!

PLUS, we will also gift the winner a $50 Amazon gift card to help fill up their new Kindle with books!


Fabulous Sponsors (Bloggers)

MDBR thanks the following bloggers who are sponsoring this giveaway. Please consider visiting at least one or two and thanking them personally.


Fabulous Sponsors (Authors and Publishers)

Also, a big thank you to all of the participating authors and publishers who are sponsoring this giveaway. Below you will find their fabulous books. Please consider purchasing one, two or more books that interest you as a “Thank You” to these generous sponsors. Some books are free, others only 99 cents!

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The Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive either a new Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition 7″ Tablet + a $50 Amazon gift card (US only) OR $200 Amazon gift card (US Only) OR $200 PayPal cash prize (International)

Contest closes: May 31, 11:59 pm, 2015
Open to: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter button below.

* PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU BEGIN *

ADDING BOOKS TO WISH LIST ON AMAZON: Hint…if you scroll to the bottom of the list on Amazon, you will see a button “Add All Items to Your Wish List”. One click is all it takes!

ADDING BOOKS TO “WANT-TO-READ” SHELF ON GOODREADS: If you do not see the column entitled “my rating”, click on “settings” and make sure that the “shelves” box is checked. This will make it super-easy to add the books to your “to-read” shelf.

ENTER-NOW

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner.

Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

NOTE: When the winner is chosen, ALL of their entries will be verified. If ANY of the winner’s entries is invalid, they will be disqualified and a new winner will be chosen. In our last Kindle giveaway, the first winner chosen was disqualified for this very reason!

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