Cover Reveal: Eucalyptus Street (Green Curse)

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I’m so pleased to reveal the new cover for the latest Botanic Hill Detectives Mystery book, Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse by Sherrill Joseph. Coming this fall!

Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse 

Expected Publication Date: Fall 2020

Genre: MG Mystery/ Middle Grade – 9 to 12 years old (For fans of Nancy Drew type mysteries)

In 1945, Isabela de Cordoba’s great-grandfather, the famous silent movie actor Lorenzo de Cordoba, mysteriously hid a legendary, multimillion-dollar emerald somewhere on the family’s sprawling Eucalyptus Street estate. Seventy years later, the gem remains concealed. Nicknamed the “Green Curse,” the emerald is blamed for the Southern California familia’s numerous, untimely deaths.

On her twenty-first birthday, Isabela receives a secret letter with a cryptic poem. These documents from the long-deceased Lorenzo invite her to hunt for the gemstone. But first, she must decipher the poem’s eight stanzas for clues.

To assist, Isabela hires her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the four Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, and their best friends, Moki Kalani and Rani Kumar. Eerie footsteps inside the mansion, unexplained occurrences in the adjacent cemetery, and the mysterious tenant in the backyard casita challenge them. But they ingeniously make progress on the poem’s meaning with startling discoveries. Sliding wall panels, a secret room, and hidden passages reveal much. The detectives aren’t the only ones looking for the emerald. The perilous race for the de Cordoba treasure is on!

“GREEN CURSE is a spooky mystery that starts during a lightning storm in a big empty mansion. The tension ratchets up continuously as the story goes, alluding to ghosts, vampires, tombstones, graves, and a scary old woman that could be a witch. There’s a mystery within the mystery, a broad range of diverse characters, and interesting lore about gemstones of antiquity. My 12-year-old son and I recommend this page-turner that we just had to finish in one day!”

-–BEN GARTNERauthor of The Eye of Ra series

“This book was shocking, fun, and clever. I was at the edge of my seat the whole time. One of the best books I have ever read!”

–LIAM M., age 11, Macungie, PA

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Other Books in the Series:

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Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets (A Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries #1)

Publication Date: February 1st, 2020

Genre: MG/ Middle Grade/ Mystery (Ages 9 – 12)

World-famous Egyptologist Dr. Winston Thornsley died suddenly two months ago in disgrace. His widow, Ida Thornsley, remains convinced her husband was falsely accused of stealing an ancient burial urn he discovered in Egypt last summer, but local and federal law enforcement officers are stumped.

Mrs. Thornsley, desperate for answers, calls in her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, Moki Kalani, and Rani Kumar. Their exciting mission? To find the urn and its real thief, bring the criminal to justice, and exonerate Dr. Thornsley so his spotless reputation can be restored.

A roomful of venomous snakes, the poisoned Egyptian pond, and Dragon Pit Man are just a few of the tests awaiting the four tech-savvy teenagers. As the detectives begin to unravel the sinister plot, the mystery takes a dangerous turn. Answers are at their fingertips—if they can only convince their parents to let them solve the case.

Goodreads

Egyptian Secrets is available for review! Request copy here!

About the Author

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Sherrill Joseph will be forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools where she taught for thirty-five years before retiring and becoming a published author.

She has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries with children and adult characters of various abilities, races, cultures, and interests. Sherrill strongly believes that children need to find not only themselves in books but others from different races and social situations if all are to become tolerant, anti-racist world citizens.

In addition, the author created her detectives—patterned after her own fifth-grade students and twelve-year-old twin cousins—to be mature, smart, polite role models that will appeal to parents, teachers, but especially to kids who seek to realize their greatest potential with courage and self-respect.

Sherrill is a lexical-gustatory synesthete and native San Diegan where she lives in a 1928 Spanish-style house in a historic neighborhood with her poodle-bichon mix, Jimmy Lambchop. Other loves include her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She can’t leave out dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, purple, and daisies. Having never lived in a two-story house, she is naturally fascinated by staircases. Sherrill is a member of SCBWI and the Authors Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.

Sherrill Joseph | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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I am so grateful to everyone on booktube that has supported me and I wanted to say thank you so so much for helping me get to 1500 subscribers!! I did a Q&A where I answer all your questions (book-related or not) and hopefully, this is as entertaining for you as it was for me to make! Check out the video below:

Mini Review: Ruckus by Laurie Elmquist

Our external reviewer Sara has another mini-review for us! She has been recommending a lot of great middle grade books and here is another to add to that list!

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Synopsis: Reece’s new dog, Ruckus, tears through life like a Tyrannosaurus rex. He bites everything that moves and drives Reece’s mom nuts. The puppy was Dad’s idea, to make things easier for Reece after his parents’ separation, but Ruckus is not easy at all and Mom is getting fed up. When her diamond earrings go missing, it sends the family into a tailspin. What happens when a dog swallows something precious? Reece is about to find out. But they can’t give up on this little Jack Russell terror, can they? He’s family, after all.

I really enjoyed this as a beginning reader’s chapter book. It was a pretty quick read, so I don’t think an emerging reader would have too much trouble reading this on their own. The plot was fast-paced and fun, with some great messages for the reader about family troubles, which I thought was helpful. They did a great job showing what it was like to have a family member who isn’t the best at their job; in this case, the father. I would really recommend this to a young reader.

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.


Check out this book called Dork by my author friend Will Winkle about a guy trying to get his crush’s attention while navigating his life as part of a fraternity house!

His book can be found on Amazon, Goodreads, and his website: WillWinkle.com.

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If any of you out there like Brandon Sanderson, then you should check out my latest video. It is a reading vlog of his book Skyward and I had quite a time reading this one!

Middle Grade Mini Book Reviews

Our external reviewer Sara has been busy doing some middle grade reading so that she can be better acquainted to recommend books to the kids at the library she works at! Here are some of her reviews on some of the books she has picked up!

The Monster Sisters and the Mystery of the Unlocked Cave by Gareth Kyle Gaudin

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Synopsis: When a quiet seaside town is suddenly overrun by hundreds of giant monsters, two young sisters are the only ones prepared to handle the situation. Using their keen interest in architecture, local history, folklore and gymnastics, the two girls attempt to not only stop the monsters’ rampage but also figure out why it’s happening. The story is set in Victoria, British Columbia, and the city’s impressive history and creepy folklore add intrigue to the proceedings, as more and more monstrous guests arrive on this unceded Lekwungen Territory.

Review: Unfortunately, though this graphic novel seems to have a pretty entertaining idea, I found it pretty disjointed and difficult to read. The idea of the novel was really neat, and the idea to put little facts about Victoria was fun, but really pulled away from the story. There were also a few times where the story jumped around for no real reason and added in a narrator at the last few pages to tie everything up.  

Admittedly, I’m still working on appreciating the style of the graphic novel, but this one felt particularly difficult to get into the story. 

I wouldn’t recommend this book to the younger readers this book is geared towards. It does seem like it’s leading really heavily into a sequel, and I’m optimistic that perhaps a second novel from this author would be more successful.

Book Rating: 2/5


Shadow Island by Nancy Deas

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Synopsis: With nowhere left to live after losing his parents and working his way through a long list of relatives on the mainland, Ollie finds himself at his grandpa’s house in Sueo Bay, “home of the supernatural.” Miserable and intending to get away from the earthquake-prone, rain-soaked island on the next bus out of town, Ollie’s getaway plans are altered abruptly when he and three classmates discover something they shouldn’t have in a trailer in the woods.

The four unlikely friends come together in a mystery involving supernatural creatures, a ticking clock and one angry gym teacher to save themselves, the creatures and Sueo Bay from a darkness that is infecting the island.

If they succeed, will Ollie finally find a place to call home?

Review: I loved this one graphic novel. I thought the start was a bit abrupt, but I quickly forgot about this as I continued reading. It was a fun story that I think kids in this age group will absolutely love. The images were great, and I even approved of the text style (as a teacher, the all-caps style common in graphic novels does not help emerging readers). I think this could turn into a series most emerging readers would love to get obsessed with!

Book Rating: 4/5


Sid the Kid and the Dryer by Leslie Choyce

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Synopsis: Milton the washing machine and W. P. (Whirlpool) the dryer are being delivered to a new home in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. The pair are excited to start their new jobs in the Crosby home, and are just getting settled in to the basement when “the kid” comes home from school. Sidney straps on a pair of Rollerblades, drags out a beat-up hockey net, and starts to practice. Every now and then a loud carrong echoes off W. P.’s shiny white enamel as the puck misses the net, prompting scolds from Sidney’s mother upstairs.

Eventually, the poor dryer needs to be replaced; it’s missing knobs and covered in dents. W. P. doesn’t want to go, and it’s up to Sidney to convince his dad that sometimes, being reminded of your mistakes is a good thing.

Review: I did not enjoy this book. It felt sort of strange, although I really loved the idea. It almost felt like this book hasn’t been seen by a publisher yet. I believe the illustration style would not be very popular with most of it’s intended readers, either, as the sort of almost-realistic style of illustrating seems to have fallen out of favour in the last decade. I feel like there other sports-adjacent picture books in this genre that readers would enjoy more.

Book Rating: 2/5


A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice by Nadia L. Hohn

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Synopsis: Jamaican poet and entertainer Louise Bennett Coverley, better known as “Miss Lou,” played an instrumental role in popularizing Jamaican patois internationally. Through her art, Miss Lou helped pave the way for other poets and singers, like Bob Marley, to use patois in their work.

This picture book biography tells the story of Miss Lou’s early years, when she was a young girl who loved poetry but felt caught between writing “lines of words like tight cornrows” or words that beat “in time with her heart.” Despite criticism from one teacher, Louise finds a way to weave the influence of the music, voices, and rhythms of her surroundings into her poems.

Review: I really loved the idea of this book. Being able to connect important historical figures with the reader in a natural way is something I really admire in children’s books. I think that the average child will love reading a story, only to discover that it’s about a real person. Unfortunately, I wished for more! I wanted more of what was in the author’s note at the end to be told in the story, where it will really engage the reader. I’d love to read more by this author.

Book Rating: 4/5



Wolverine and Little Thunder | Ki’kaw’ju Kaqtukowjik 
by Alan Syliboy

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Synopsis: From the bestselling creator of The Thundermaker comes another adventure featuring Little Thunder and Wolverine—a trickster, who is strong and fierce and loyal. The two are best of friends, even though Wolverine can sometimes get them into trouble. Their favourite pastime is eel fishing, whether it’s cutting through winter ice with a stone axe or catching eels in traditional stone weirs in the summer. But that all changes one night, when they encounter the giant river eel—the eel that is too big to catch. The eel that hunts people!

Book Review: I loved the illustrations and the idea of the book telling an indigenous tale for the readers. Unfortunately, the writing was a bit lacking. The story didn’t have much flow to it, and it kind of felt like nothing really happened. The excerpt of the book used on the inside cover almost told more of the story than the actual book! I wished for more connection to the reader, and a better development of the plot of the book. I just didn’t feel like this book lives up to some of its competitors in the genre.

Book Rating: 3/5


Olga: Out of Control! by Elise Gravel

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Synopsis: In this third installment of the series, Olga’s beloved companion, Meh, is now a mom! She has a litter of adorable babies that look like spring rolls. But the babies aren’t just adorable—they’re a handful! How can Olga stop them from covering her house in rainbow poop if she’s busy making sure they’re fed?

Can Olga keep it all under control?

Book Review: I’m not sure I really enjoyed this book. It felt a little bit too contrived. While I was reading, it felt like it was just a thinly veiled attempt to teach kids about the challenges of parenting and owning pets. This author writes as if they only think they know how to write for children, which is odd, as I’ve read other books by this author that are much better!

Book Rating: 2.5/5


Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliot

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Synopsis: Jaxon had just one job–to return three baby dragons to the realm of magic. But when he got there, only two dragons were left in the bag. His best friend’s sister, Kavita, is a dragon thief!

Kavita only wanted what was best for the baby dragon. But now every time she feeds it, the dragon grows and grows! How can she possibly keep it secret? Even worse, stealing it has upset the balance between the worlds. The gates to the other realm have shut tight! Jaxon needs all the help he can get to find Kavita, outsmart a trickster named Blue, and return the baby dragon to its true home.

Book Review: I loved this one book! I was a little worried about it being a sequel, as I haven’t read the first one, but it was still a great read, and I didn’t feel lost. I found the story engaging, and at the perfect level for the age group. There was action and a bit of magic, but mostly they’re was great relationships between the characters. I would recommend this one to any early reader!

Book Rating: 5/5



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If you are interested, I have this video detailing my opinions on the books that I read in February. Check it out if you want to see me talk about the books rather than read a review.

Book Highlight: Nutmeg Street

Have you heard about Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, by Sherrill Joseph yet? Check it out and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom!

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Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets (A Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries #1)

Expected Publication Date: February 1st, 2020

Genre: MG/ Middle Grade/ Mystery (Ages 9 – 12)

World-famous Egyptologist Dr. Winston Thornsley died suddenly two months ago in disgrace. His widow, Ida Thornsley, remains convinced her husband was falsely accused of stealing an ancient burial urn he discovered in Egypt last summer, but local and federal law enforcement officers are stumped.

Mrs. Thornsley, desperate for answers, calls in her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, Moki Kalani, and Rani Kumar. Their exciting mission? To find the urn and its real thief, bring the criminal to justice, and exonerate Dr. Thornsley so his spotless reputation can be restored.

A roomful of venomous snakes, the poisoned Egyptian pond, and Dragon Pit Man are just a few of the tests awaiting the four tech-savvy teenagers. As the detectives begin to unravel the sinister plot, the mystery takes a dangerous turn. Answers are at their fingertips—if they can only convince their parents to let them solve the case.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Uncle Rocky did his best to join the kids on the floor but resorted to an old, overstuffed club chair instead. No sooner had the man gotten settled when Rani’s face changed.

“What’s that?” she said.

Flashing lights were beaming into the attic through the little window and dancing wildly around the room. The group quickly clustered around the opening.

Lanny grabbed the binoculars hanging nearby and trained them on the source. It took some time before the light show stopped interfering with his vision. “It’s Mask Face! On the Quince Street Footbridge!” he shouted, lowering the binoculars.

Lexi yanked them from her brother, taking his neck along with the strap, and aimed them out the window. “You’re right. Eww! It’s creepy,” she replied as goosebumps ran down her arms.

The figure had turned the flashlight onto its mask, creating the illusion of a disembodied head floating across the bridge.

Coming Soon!

Egyptian Secrets, in paperback and eBook, will be available for purchase on Amazon, February 1, 2020!

For your chance to win a digital copy of the book, book swag — a bookmark, a sticker, and a post card, And a $25 Amazon gift card, click the link below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: Prizes mentioned above are available to the U.S. only. A digital copy of Egyptian Secrets will be given away for international entries!

The giveaway will run from November 4th to November 7th. Good luck!

About the Author

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Sherrill Joseph’s debut novel, Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, had been inside her head for decades. The mystery genre took hold of her as a fifth grader when she discovered Nancy Drew and Phyllis A. Whitney mysteries. Years later, it still hasn’t let go.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s in education, Sherrill spent the next thirty-five years as a K-12 literacy teacher. When she retired from teaching in 2013, the Botanic Hill Detectives and their mysteries finally sprang to life.

Forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools, the author has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives mysteries with children of various abilities, cultures, and interests. She strongly believes that embracing diversity is the key to a better world.

Sherrill is a native San Diegan where she lives in a ninety-year-old house in a historic neighborhood with her bichon frisé-poodle mix, Jimmy Lambchop. In addition to her dog, the city of San Diego, reading and writing, the author loves her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She must also include dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, staircases, the color purple, and daisies. She is a member of SCBWI and the Authors’ Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.

Sherrill Joseph | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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It’s already November! I am being pretty ambitious and will be trying to read 5 books this month. Check out what I will be reading!

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Cover Reveal: Nutmeg Street

A fantastic cover for an exciting upcoming debut novel by author, Sherrill Joseph! Read more about Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets below!

Book Cover-3

Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets (A Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries #1)

Expected Publication Date: February 1st, 2020

Genre: MG/ Middle Grade/ Mystery (Ages 9 – 12)

World-famous Egyptologist Dr. Winston Thornsley died suddenly two months ago in disgrace. His widow, Ida Thornsley, remains convinced her husband was falsely accused of stealing an ancient burial urn he discovered in Egypt last summer, but local and federal law enforcement officers are stumped.

Mrs. Thornsley, desperate for answers, calls in her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, Moki Kalani, and Rani Kumar. Their exciting mission? To find the urn and its real thief, bring the criminal to justice, and exonerate Dr. Thornsley so his spotless reputation can be restored.

A roomful of venomous snakes, the poisoned Egyptian pond, and Dragon Pit Man are just a few of the tests awaiting the four tech-savvy teenagers. As the detectives begin to unravel the sinister plot, the mystery takes a dangerous turn. Answers are at their fingertips—if they can only convince their parents to let them solve the case.

Add to Goodreads

Sneak Peek

“Here we go again. An aftershock! I’ve been afraid this would happen,” said Dr. Kurtz. She rapidly surveyed the room full of terrariums. “And one of my assistants just called to say he’s found a somewhat hidden but large crack from this morning’s tremor on one of our venomous snake enclosure’s glass panes. It’s a major emergency. Come out with me quickly boys—now! I have to attend to this immediately,” she shouted behind her, as she grabbed her tool bag, yanked open the heavy door, and fled outside and down the breezeway to the enclosure.

Unfortunately, Moki and Lanny weren’t as fast as Dr. Kurtz. The door banged shut in their surprised faces and locked. They were trapped in a windowless room.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the power failed simultaneously, and the room went pitch black. Both boys froze, helplessly surrounded by three walls of venomous snakes they could still hear but no longer see.

Egyptian Secrets, in paperback and eBook, will be available for purchase on Amazon, February 1, 2020!

About the Author

photo01

Sherrill Joseph’s debut novel, Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, had been inside her head for decades. The mystery genre took hold of her as a fifth grader when she discovered Nancy Drew and Phyllis A. Whitney mysteries. Years later, it still hasn’t let go.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s in education, Sherrill spent the next thirty-five years as a K-12 literacy teacher. When she retired from teaching in 2013, the Botanic Hill Detectives and their mysteries finally sprang to life.

Forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools, the author has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives mysteries with children of various abilities, cultures, and interests. She strongly believes that embracing diversity is the key to a better world.

Sherrill is a native San Diegan where she lives in a ninety-year-old house in a historic neighborhood with her bichon frisé-poodle mix, Jimmy Lambchop. In addition to her dog, the city of San Diego, reading and writing, the author loves her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She must also include dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, staircases, the color purple, and daisies. She is a member of SCBWI and the Authors’ Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.

Sherrill Joseph | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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t’s already November….well tomorrow! I am being pretty ambitious and will be trying to read 5 books this month. Check out what I will be reading!

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Book Review: The Savages

I am kicking the NEWTS in the ass! I recently finished this book for my “outstanding” for Defense Against the Dark Arts prompt. This one was called The Savages by Matt Whyman.

The book The Savages by Matt Whyman

Synopsis: They’d love to have you for dinner . . .

Sasha Savage is in love with Jack – a handsome, charming … vegetarian. Which wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that Sasha’s family are very much ‘carnivorous’. Behind the family facade, all is not as it seems. Sasha’s father rules his clan with an iron fist and her mother’s culinary skills are getting more adventurous by the day. When a too-curious private detective starts to dig for truths, the tight-knit family starts to unravel – as does their sinister taste in human beings . . .

So this book hooked me from the subtitle “They’d love to have you for dinner…”! I saw this in the bookstore and immediately put it in my cart. It was also on sale so that helped make my decision for me.

I read this as a prompt for the magical readathon since it was to read a book by an English author and I am glad I picked up this book. It was such a cool premise with a family of “meat” eaters, one of the children wanting to try being vegetarian and how the family reacts to this.

I found the characters were all well developed. I especially liked Ivan (the middle child) because he was a mischievous prankster with just the right amount of sinister.

The way that the family’s heritage was explained and the reasoning behind why they are the way that they are was really fun to discover. I would say that this is definitely a young adult book as I believe it may be a little too much for younger readers in some of the scenes.

Overall, it was a pretty good book that had a lot of underlying humor and punny wit.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads!

Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money and read it because I wanted to.


Rapid Fire Book Tag you say? I tried to answer these questions on the fly! Thanks to Dominic from Reading Fandom for tagging me to do this.

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Book Review: Sea Raiders by Carey Fessler

We finished a trilogy! As many of you know, we have been reading through Carey Fessler’s middle-grade trilogy. Well, we finished the last one which was called Sea Raiders so check out the review below.

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Synopsis: The battle has begun, and the pirates want blood.

Twelve-year-olds Emma and Scott are on board the dive boat the Sea Urchin, anchored at night off Dragon Island when a band of trigger-happy marauders boards their boat.

So begins their battle to survive a modern-day pirate raid and escape their hostage situation so they can return home to their families. But not before having to fight for their lives and escape to a savage land and the last place on earth they wanted to return–Dragon Island. Can the young hostages stay alive and raise the alarm?

This was a great end to this middle-grade trilogy. The adventure just continued right where it left off and of course the main characters found themselves in another predicament.

There were some new characters added (rich Texans and pirates to be exact) that really progressed the development and culmination of the series. The whole series is set in Australia and the surrounding areas which are places I dream to travel to so it made it that much more exciting for me (exploring it in my mind’s eye if I can’t get there in person).

One thing I really liked was that the author showed their positive feelings about the LGBTQ+ community by making one of the main characters gay. It was revealed in a humorous way and really shows the progress we have made on this front. Kids should be introduced to this at a young age and should be taught that there is nothing wrong with being who you are and being able to love who you love. So I applaud and commend the author for being progressive and including it in their book.

I ended up really liking Brock (he is the mutant). His character developed into a nice and compassionate character compared to the old grump he was in the first book.

Overall, this was a great end to a fun middle-grade series and I hope this author writes another series because I will definitely read it.

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon or find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format by the author to read and give an honest review.

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Book Review: Shipwrecked by Carey Fessler

Have I ever been busy this week! I finished the second book in the middle-grade trilogy I am currently working through. This one was called Shipwrecked: Dragon Island by Carey Fessler. Besides reading, I have been preparing for a weekend trip to Toronto where I hope to visit ECW Press and House of Anansi. These are 2 book publishers that I have been collaborating with. But for now, back to the review.

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Synopsis: The trek has begun, and the trail will show no mercy.

After escaping a rogue submarine, twelve-year-old cousins Emma and Scott wash ashore on the beach of a remote tropical island lurking with jungle dragons and headhunters.

So begins their trek to find safety and civilization so they can return home to their families in Australia–but not before having to fight for their lives across a savage land. Can the young castaways survive long enough to find help?

I find that when I talk to people about trilogies, I am always an advocate for the middle book. It is the same case for this series. I really enjoyed the middle book in this trilogy.

The characters were already fleshed out so you know what to expect in their behaviors and the story picked up right where it left off so it felt like you were watching the next episode of a show in a series.

In this one, they were on what they thought was a deserted island and were trying to find a way to escape and get back to Australia where their families were. Little did they know that this island had more to it than they expected and thus ensued an eventful adventure from one side of the island to the other. This tale is filled with dragons (yes, I said dragons), tribal sacrifices,  and creepy crawly critters.

Emma and Scott further develop in bravery and courage as they are faced with more dire situations. Compassion and trust is something they need to find in themselves if they are to escape this island alive. Brock (one of the mutants) actually becomes likable in this one and I can safely say that I hope there is more of him in the finale to this trilogy.

Overall, I think this was a great middle book for a middle-grade series. It kept it interesting, fun, and engaging with all the predicaments that our main characters kept finding themselves in! And it was a quick read to at only 185 pages!

Book rating: 4.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon or find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in ebook format by the author to read and give an honest review.

GeekBuying.com

Book Review: Shanghaied by Carey Fessler

Hey bookworms! I am back with another review for you. This one was called Shanghaied: Escape from the Blackwolf by Carey Fessler and is the first book to a trilogy. I will be reviewing the entire trilogy so the other reviews will be following this one.

SHANGHAIED 194KB

Synopsis: Twelve-year-olds Emma and Scott stumble across a dark secret and are shanghaied by a rogue submarine that once suffered a ghastly fate: a radioactive incident that transformed its crew into mutants.

They are plunged into the depths of the ocean, far beyond the reach of help, where the Blackwolf battles against lurking enemy navies.

Now they must find a way off the submarine without being killed first–or even worse, being forced into service for the rest of their lives.

The race to escape has begun.

I rather enjoyed this book. It was another middle-grade book so it doesn’t quite capture your attention or have fully fleshed out characters like YA does but the story progresses quickly and you get to think like how a kid would. In dangerous situations, the kids would do something so bold or brave and I would think to myself that I wouldn’t even have the courage to do that. Oh to be a kid again and not know that fear that growing up can teach you.

There were quite a few technical terms about working in a submarine which I thought was pretty cool. You were learning about life at sea while enjoying the daring escape these kids were trying to plan and execute.

Plus, it had mutants! Creepy, slimy, hairless mutants. Well, they all had different descriptions as they were all unique crewmembers but still fun none the less. The captain was a grumpy, mean mutant and so was most of the crew but not all of them were bad as you will come to find out.

At one point, Scott and Emma find themselves in a situation I would be truly terrified and they manage to keep their cool and get through it. I can’t tell you what that situation is because I don’t want to spoil it but I would lose my cool real fast.

I also realized after I finished the book that there were two characters they eluded to multiple times but never brought them back up so I am not sure if they will be in the next one or were just forgotten about.

This one ends somewhat intensely and you can pretty much guess that the next one will pick up right where they left off so I am excited to get reading it and find out what comes next.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads. If you like this review, we did another one for this author’s other book called Foiled.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format by the author to read and give an honest review.

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Book Review: Foiled by Carey Fessler

New book review alert! We have delved into the world of middle-grade books this time. Presented here is a book called Foiled by Carey Fessler.

Foiled 172KB

Synopsis: It’s 1947 on a U.S. Army base near Roswell, New Mexico, and eleven-year-old Kate’s friend and neighbor, Billy, shows her a secret. A CIA agent arrives at Billy’s house, to recover the Top Secret items, and threatens the family, warning them to never talk about the incident—ever. Special Agent Falco informs them of their sudden reassignment to Germany. Billy, not wanting to move to Germany or return his treasures, begs Kate for help. Feisty and fiercely loyal, she agrees to hide him.

Thus begins a most unusual road trip in which the two friends use their wits, their knowledge of the terrain and geography around the base, and sheer determination to evade capture. Kate must also reach her grandfather, more than two hundred miles away, and warn him how the secret poses a dangerous threat … to anyone involved.

Their race has begun, and there’s no turning back.

This was an average middle-grade book. It had likable characters, despicable villains and quite an adventure through different parts of New Mexico. I was kept entertained all the way through it with Billy and Kate’s antics. They bantered back and forth just like two young kids would and it was fun to experience this kind of honesty and childlike innocence.

It was set in the 1940s and had all these references to things that are a part of our history (especially baseball and comic books). I identified with Billy as a child because, like him, I would read comic books and want to be just like the superheroes/protagonists of the adventure.

There were some parts of the book where I would think that they should be a little more descriptive of the scene but this could have been because of the nature of it being a middle-grade book. The author was just making it easier for kids to understand and in turn, this would keep them from losing interest in the novel.

Overall, I think it is a genuine adventure book that would be fun for kids to read when they are experiencing books for the first time and just starting to explore the world of literature. It just gets better and better the more you open your world to reading!

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads or the Author’s Website.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us by the author in ebook format to read and give an honest review.

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