Posts tagged ‘orphan’

MAN’S BEST FRIEND

Dogboy: Danger on Liberty Pier (Dogboy Adventures Book 2)

Written by Bill Meeks

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This book follows the first in the series which saw thirteen year old orphan superhero Bronson Black saves Colto City from the clutches of a den of thieves. The second book is technically not a sequel and can be read as a stand alone story.

In this second adventure Bronson happens upon a murder being committed on Liberty Pier. He chases the perpetrator several blocks, but is unable to apprehend the killer. Bronson lives and works with a magician, Mr. Horum. In the course of the mystery, Bronson will use his Dogboy costume to go undercover. He will struggle to stay on good terms with his girlfriend reporter named Cindy and her computer savvy friends as well as his father’s old friend, Wylie Morgan. A murder, a suicide, a newspaper, a superhero, and a budding romance are elements of the plot. Bronson struggles with his ability to see into the future, his teen emotions, and his need to develop meaningful personal relationships.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot, and the action is pretty much non-stop in this novel of less than two hundred pages. Will Bronson find himself and solve the mystery? How will he go forward in future escapades protecting the city he loves?

Recommended for ages twelve and up, though some younger middle school students might enjoy the read. Equally appealing to both genders as there are strong male and female characters. This is not a classic superhero comic book story.

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A DIFFICULT CHOICE

Lightmasters – Number 13

Written by M.G. Wells

Lightmasters2,picJessica Wyrd is facing her thirteenth birthday. The last year has been extremely difficult for her. Her parents were both killed in an automobile accident down in Georgia. Jessica is now living with her eccentric maternal grandparents in upstate New York. She misses her best friends, Emma and Hank. In school she is the considered the nerdy newbie, the victim of bullying by students and teachers alike.

Shortly before her thirteenth birthday, Jessica encounters a spiral light and a green haze. A voice urges her to follow the others who are waiting. She meets Dragateen, Torc and Bo, along with other spirits who tell her to shift into another dimension and make the journey to Kiron. Jessica hesitantly walks through an oak tree and enters, but the dark forces of Sartan are waiting to do battle with this new recruit.

Jessica’s journey will lead her to Emerald Pond, Poseidon Pit and mysterious caverns below. She will meet snakes, a slimy octopus, and strange demonic creatures with orange eyes. Jessica has difficulty determining what is reality and what she is experiencing in the “other world.” She receives a special jewel and learns that she bears the mark of the mystic. Still, the decision to use her special powers and whether to become one of the Lightmasters must be her own.

Back here on earth, Jessica is homesick for her friends in Georgia. Wells shifts the story to Jessica’s coming of age conflicts and injects lots of humor in describing the trials and tribulations of a feisty thirteen year old who is intelligent far beyond her chronological age and who must deal with the realities of family, school and death. How does she resolve her conflicts and reconcile two very different lives?

This book of less than two hundred pages is a well written middle grade fantasy adventure that will appeal to readers age nine and up. Lots of twists and turns in plot, humor, and nicely developed characters combined with the kinds of problems kids this age face daily. As an adult, I enjoyed looking back on my early teens through Jessica’s eyes.

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BREAKOUT

The Dolltender’s Adventure (The Dolltender Series)

Written and illustrated by Nancy Hill

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This is latest book in the Dolltender series of books that are written and photographed by Nancy Hill. I read the kindle version which features beautiful photographs of Victorian dolls from antique shops in Oregon and Washington. They are beautifully done; my only regret is that the photographs are not larger.

The story includes many elements that appeal to children. Our protagonist is an adorable young girl named Natalie who has been living in an antique shop with an old man and woman since her parents disappeared into a mirror. Right, here comes the element of fantasy. Natalie does all the chores in the shop and takes care of the dolls. She seldom has the opportunity to go outside and never plays with children her own age. Her world consists of her interaction with the dolls. Natalie pleads with her caretakers to take the dolls outside the shop. They have been cooped up there for years. The dolls tell her they wish to see the butterflies, sunbathe or hear the birds sing. Natalie almost gives up hope of ever bringing them outside when, one day, the old couple are invited to a lavish party at a nearby town. Natalie convinces them that she should stay home and watch the shop. Then she hatches a plot to take the dolls outside. She comes up with a plan for the dolls to draw cards to see who will go first and then take turns riding in her doll carriage.

The wise Sage doll makes a request. He asks that Natalie bring him the most beautiful leaves. If she is successful, she will be granted whatever wish she desires. Natalie promises that she will do so and embarks on her adventure of making three trips outside. As she completes them, she worries that she will not be able to return on time and keep her promise. She has many adventures with her doll friends, but as nightfall arrives, she becomes lost and disoriented. How will she ever keep her promise and return the dolls safely without her owners discovering her secret? Will she satisfy the request made by the Sage?

The author combines personification, fantasy and realism into a fairly coherent tale. As a reader, you want to see Natalie succeed; solve the mystery of her parents’ disappearance, grow into a happy child, and become a heroine to her unusual collection of antique doll companions. This short story that is just under one hundred pages moves along quickly encouraging the reader to finish it in one sitting. Just the kind of book for readers age eight and up to curl up with on a rainy afternoon.

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