Posts tagged ‘fantasy’

Teen Troubles

The Rise of the Olympians Book One

Written by Belle Ward

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First book in a middle grade short story series. Lilah is about to celebrate her thirteenth birthday. Her father surprises her with her favorite breakfast of pancakes and bacon. As she departs for school with her older brother, Jay, Lilah looks forward to her first class in which she is studying about Ancient Greece. Mr. Fisher is discussing the Olympians. For some reason, Lilah can’t stop thinking about the lesson.

When Lilah gets home she is surprised by the gift of an angel-winged necklace from her dad. But when she prepares for bed, strange things begin to happen. The necklace heats up, her rainbow colored extensions suddenly become attached to her head, and she experiences a strange dream. The next day, Lilah is invited to join a special dream club. She is astonished to learn that the other members are Apollo and Hades. They think she is the goddess who will help them find the Father of the Monsters. A sudden crash, and all must run for their lives…..Will Lilah cast her fate with these strangers? Will she wake up from this nightmare?

This short story is a good length for reluctant readers. The characters are believable and interesting enough. What some readers may not like is that the tale ends in a cliffhanger. Readers will be left disappointed unless they immediately get a hold of Book Two.

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A FLYING CIRCUS

In the Land of Broken Time

Written by Max Evan

Illustrated by Maria Evan

Translated by Helen Hagon

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Charming tale mixing elements of fantasy, magic, adventure, and time travel. Christopher is looking out his window when he sees the circus passing by. He desperately wants to go out and investigate, but his mother refuses because he has been ill with a cold. Christopher sneaks out and arrives at the circus tent. A young girl his age named Sophie helps him gain admission. Their adventure begins when they are chased by a cleaning woman who looks like a witch. They hide in a hot air balloon basket and discover a golden retriever circus dog named Duke sleeping inside. Suddenly the fugitives find themselves aloft. What an adventure lies before them!

The three become friends and allies. Landing in The Forest of Chornos, they discover a magic sundial, and a professor called Temporis Certus who experiments with hourglasses and time.. He gives them advice on how to escape by sailing down a river into the town on the other side of the forest. There the trio encounter a gnome, a nefarious regent and the time machine that could allow them safe passage home. Duke finds himself in a strange predicament. Will Duke ever find his way back to the circus? How will Sophie and Christopher solve the shifts in time and adjust the time machine to return to their past?

This book is targeted for ages six through twelve; it is a chapter book most appropriate for children in grades three to six. The book is well-written, fun and fast paced. There are plenty of surprises and intriguing characters. Nice blend of fantasy with a bit of science intertwined. I hope to see additional books written by this talented couple.

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SHIFTING THROUGH TIME

Epic Fantasy Adventure: The Sands of Time: Holy Paladin’s Quest: Book 2

Written by Blaine Hart

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This is the second book in an epic fantasy series. I did not read the first book, and so it took me a while to get my bearings and catch the drift of what was transpiring. In the opening chapter, a woman in a cistern has taken the form of Anna. She informs Kell, Longo and Wandfala that there will be 99 days and nights of rain. The earth will soon perish. Gavial and Anna are now prisoners; the previous victories over the Bone Dragon are deemed worthless. Master Kell is a Holy Paladin who is in a state of communion. Wandfala tells Longo that it will be up to him to rebuild their ship, Chaos, if they are to continue their quest. The trio will sail to an island where the tree of life resides to seek the blessing from the Angel of Life in order to challenge the witch Monmalla. Along their journey, they will encounter sea creatures with green hair, a swarm of vermin, black crows, and a mysterious young boy with a sense of humor who taunts them for their foolishness and stupidity. Will the three travelers succeed in their mission to rescue Anna? Where will the time travelers land next?

I would strongly suggest reading this epic fantasy, science fiction series in the correct order to understand the nuances of the plot. These tales are short, but require careful reading. Suggested for fantasy and time travel devotees age ten and older.

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THE SECRET DOOR

The Witch With The Glitch: A Fairy Tale And Adventure (A Lost Book Adventure)

Written by Adam Maxwell

Cover by Dale Maloney

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Charming adventure of Nina and her two friends Ivy and Oswald who frequently meet in her Aunt and Uncle’s bookshop. Doesn’t sound like the place for a real adventure? Well, it turns out there is a hidden room in the bookshop, and once Nina places the key in the lock the children are on their way to a journey into the unknown. This time the children find themselves in the parlor of a gingerbread house. To their chagrin the three friends find themselves transformed into a vampire, ghost, and a werewolf!

They will meet a witch who has a problem using and controlling her powers, a village of strange little people, two kidnapped children, and a magical cat named Izzy. The three friends will have to learn to control their new identities and transform themselves. If they are unable to find Izzy before midnight, Belinda the witch will be unable to undo their spells, and they will be trapped forever. Will they be able find their way back to the bookstore and their families?

The author combines fairy tales, adventure, paranormal and lots of humor to keep the plot interesting. Characters are well-developed and the dialogue crisp and clever. This book is perfect for readers in grades three to six. Chapters are short and vocabulary provides enough challenge while not being overwhelming for the early reader. A few illustrations would have enhanced the book’s appeal. This could be a fun story to share with a family or class around Halloween.

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PARENTS LOST IN TIME

The Adventures of Caroline: and the Time Machine

Written by Eric and Elena Oberst

Illustrations by Manoj Bhargav

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Charming chapter book targeted for readers in the six to twelve age range. This book stretches more than one hundred pages, and is best suited for readers in the eight to twelve age bracket. Color illustrations at the beginning of each chapter are well done; they capture the dreamy quality of the fantasy tale.

Caroline is an inquisitive and imaginative eight year old who lives with her Auntie Ann since her parents mysteriously disappeared when she was four years old. On a cold morning in January, Caroline is bored and decides to go up to the attic, which is one of her favorite places to explore She rummages through one of the trunks and finds something new at the bottom of one of them. It is a box with dials, buttons and antennas that looks like an old radio. She experiments with the dials and sets it to June 15, 2015. When she goes downstairs for a snack, she finds the weather outside is warm and the birds are singing. Caroline has stepped six months into the future.

Discovering that the device seems to work, Caroline sets it back to the time of the dinosaurs. She gets more than she bargained for when she encounters T Rex. By quickly turning the dial, Caroline escapes but finds herself in the Pleistocene Age with Woolly Mammoths and Saber Tooth Tigers. Again she hurriedly sets her dial. This time she is about one hundred years in the past near her house where she meets a little boy named Tommy who wants to befriend her. Caroline sets the dial once more and arrives back at Auntie Ann’s house.

After doing some more research, Caroline tracks down her parents’ whereabouts on the day they disappeared. She is determined to go back to the past and find out what happened to them. But will she get more than she bargained for? Will Caroline be able to bring her parents back to her time or will she step into theirs?

This book is a delightful science fiction/fantasy time travel tale that has a broad appeal. Caroline is a strong, determined female role model who knows what she wants and goes after it. The short chapters with appealing illustrations make it a good choice for a class read aloud and discussion. Look forward to the next book in the series. Warning! The end of book one is a cliffhanger.

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HANGING IN THERE

Frogman: The Incredibly True Confessions of a Sixth Grade Superhero

Written by Emily Cosentino

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Humorous middle grade adventure centering on the life of Alex Addison, who leads a fairly normal life until the day he picks up a frog at the beach. Alex’s family consists of his computer nerd professor, dad, his super nervous mom who is an ex nurse, an annoying eighth grade sister, Libby, and a four year old brother, Sam.

A couple of days after picking up the frog, Alex begins to change. Suddenly he is able to leap great distances, develops webbed feet and the ability to stick to any surface, and grows a super long tongue capable of picking up and flinging objects great distances. Upon returning to school in September, his voice croaks when Alex tries to sing in chorus, and he develops a passion for eating insects. That enables Alex to become a school sensation when he challenges the school bully, Dirk to eating the grossest lunch in the cafeteria on Fear Factor Friday. When Sam discovers Alex’s secret, he promises to keep quiet. Alex’s friend Joel is determined to prove that Big Foot is real, but he soon shifts his attention to studying the strange creature who is hanging out by the pond. Of course that is Alex sneaking off to the pond to keep his skin moist during the drought. Alex will have his ups and downs, becoming a hero when he rescues a cat in trouble, momentarily becoming a football star by punting down the field, and rescuing both friend and foe from a fire. Alex is a sixth grade superhero, whether he likes it or not.

This book is just under two hundred pages and is intended for the middle grade audience ages eight through twelve. Boys especially will appreciate the humor in sibling rivalry relationships. There are lots of laughs as well as a discussion of serious peer issues like bullying, coming of age, and problems at school. Recommended for readers in grades three to six who enjoy tales about characters facing their everyday issues and crises.

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TIME TRAVEL TROUBLES

Youngtimer: Adventures in Travel Book 1

Written by G.G. Fulton

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First book in a series of middle grade time travel adventures. Carly is a twelve year old sixth grader who is very bright. So bright that her school is determined to skip her two grades. When Carly gets wind of this, she comes up with an ingenious plan to prevent that from happening. Her scheme includes bribing a fellow student to pretend to be her boyfriend by doing his homework for him, and slacking off in school assignments so that she appears to be a love sick preteen incapable of earning her teacher’s trust and unenviable nerd status.

In terms of everyday life, Carly and her best friend Patti are pretty ordinary. Carly is very close to her grandpa who is a bit of an eccentric because he spends lots of time locked up in his workshop. When her grandfather unexpectedly passes away, he leaves her a box of instructions with a letter. He tells Carly not to open the box until she turns eighteen. Patti convinces her to give in to curiosity. After all, who can possibly wait six years, an eternity in a twelve year old’s life.

Now Carly often acts first and thinks second. That will lead the friends into trouble when they start experimenting with using the time machine locked in grandpa’s garage. The friends go back in time to visit a One Direction concert, the filming of their favorite movie on the island of Santorini, and visiting a school bully named Lulu, with unexpected consequences each time. But Carly receives her biggest scare when she attempts to go back in time to prevent her parents from meeting. What was she thinking? Now her life as she knows it won’t exist.

Readers in the middle grades will love the strengths and flaws in both the children and adult characters in this series. Targeted for grades four through eight, boys and girls will find a lot of familiar problems and situations. Good book for classroom discussion. I look forward to examining other books in the series.

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