Category Archives: Middle Grade
Series: Aoleon The Martian Girl #2
Author: Brent LeVasseur
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Aoléon Pres
Publishing date: February 23rd 2015
Synopsis: Gilbert gets to visit the Martian Space Academy (Aoléon’s school) where he encounters Aoléon’s nemesis, Charm Lepton and her friend Quarkina, as well as receiving a history lesson on the Martian people by Plutarch Xenocrates.
The book is fast paced and full of adventure just like the previous one. The author has successfully created a resourceful and high energy superhero. For the most part the writing is to the point, but sometimes it seems like the plot loses its grasp on the story and it sort of waddle around, and at some points I think it would have done better with stronger editing.
The graphics are still fun, but I still think they speak more to the younger part of Middle Grade readers rather than the older part. The graphics follow the style of most modern cartoon shows for children.
One thing I really dislike about this series is its clunky and awkward title format. The title format makes it hard to distinguish each volume from the other, and I think it would have benefited from sticking with a traditional graphic novel format or just given each installment a title and call it a series like all other books.
To end the review on a positive note I did enjoy the story for what it was, and I think the writing will be engaging for children who are just starting to read on their own.
Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.
Series: Aoléon The Martian Girl
Author: Brent LeVasseur
Genre: Science Fiction, Middle Grade
Publisher: Aoléon Press
Publishing date: January 31st, 2015
Synopsis: The launch of this exciting and innovatively illustrated new series takes the reader deep into the heart of an unforgettable and out-of-this-world friendship in a story full of hijinks, hilarity, and good old-fashioned fun.
I would like to start off this review by commenting the nice illustrations that accompanied this Middle-Grade Science Fiction book. Even though they can look rather simple they weree vivi and color full, and complimented the story. They are imaginative and I’m sure that younger readers will really appreciate them.
The story itself is very easy to follow and the text is large, which, both, make this book great for kids who’s just learning to read on their own.
After saying this, there isn’t much going on in the story. But this isn’t necessarily bad, younger readers might need a simple story line to follow while I as an adult reader would have liked to see more going on in the story
Bottom line is that this is a book that king of reads like a TV-show, written by an authors who is 100% aware of his audience without dumbing down the language. It is very clear from the story that this book is Middle-Grade, and it doesn’t try to be anything more than that.
Series: Jack Staples #3
Author: Mark Batterson & Joel N. Clark
Genre: Christian, Children’s Fiction
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publishing date: June 1st, 2015
Synopsis: In this epic conclusion to the Jack Staples trilogy, Jack and Alexia must make an impossible choice during their final battle against the Assassin—one that could alter time itself and the fate of the world.
Jack Staples and the Poet’s Storm is a worthy ending to the trilogy about Jack Staples. It is not the strongest book in the series, the first book was far more enjoyable. This third and final book offer a conclusion to the storylines from the previous two books.
At times it did feel like a chore to keep reading, but it was nice to see the loose ends coming to a conclusion.
Series: Timber Ridge Riders #8
Author: Maggie Dana
Publisher: Pageworks Press
Publishing date: November 20th, 2013
Synopsis: Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and the Timber Ridge girls are excited about getting dates and new outfits for the school dance. But a blizzard plunges them into reality when the barn’s power goes out. If Kate and Holly don’t act fast, a pony may die. But Angela Dean doesn’t care. She spreads false rumors that Kate can’t be trusted around horses. If Angela succeeds in her latest vendetta, Kate might lose all she’s worked hard to attain-her place on the team and the respect of her two closest friends.
After the Storm felt much like a filler book. The one incident with the pony happens in the beginning of the book, and not much happen after that. Teenage girls do have fights, but as Holly’ boyfriend told her: their argument sounded stupid.
“For once Adam was speechless. He opened his mouth, then shut it again as Holly blurted out her problems with Kate. But the more she talked about them, the dumber they sounded.”
This pretty much sums up the book. The arguments and the reasons for the arguments seem contrived. But what Adam thinks about it kind of makes up for some of it. Also because Holly and Kate are apart for much of the book every second chapter is devoted to each of their POV. The change of the POVs in it self is rather wasted, firstly because there is little to no distinction between the two voices, secondly because from the synopsis it seems like Kate is the main character while Holly is her sidekick.
Kate’s “long distance-relationship” with the famous actor should come to an end at some point. It doesn’t fit in with the story, and is more of a nauseant than entertaining.
I have been reading a lot of the books in this series, but this is the first one which is majorly disappointing. As for now I’m content with continuing reading the series.
Series: The Max Books #3
Author: Sally Gould
Publisher: Orbis Media
Publishing date: December, 2014
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk
Synopsis: In ‘Mafia Encounter’, when Max is on a family holiday in Sicily, he and Charlie notice the mafia seem to be following them. Are they related to the mafia boss? Will they have to learn the business? Will their lives ever be the same?
Curiosity killed the Cat is not a saying Max adheres to. Max is a middle grade book hero, he follows his imagination and curiosity, which tend to get him into trouble. As he is a kid he does like impulse control, which is something that make him easy to relate to, he is a “hero” but still human.
This is the first book in the series I have read, and though most readers would start at book one, I missed references to Max’s history through the two first books. The story starts very abruptly and for me it was confusing at first, though I presume the backstory and characters are more dished out in the first two installments.
Though the minor issues aside, I could imagine Max a younger Alex Rider adventure type, and the book certainly did not lack anything in the adventure department.
Sharing a hotel with a mafia boss – even if he was a little old man – didn’t make me feel safe and warm inside. I could feel my stomach doing somersaults while we waited for the elevator. I wondered if Charlie was nervous too. He wouldn’t admit it, even if he were.
Eventually there was a ping and the doors of the elevator opened. It was empty. That was good. Well, it was good as long as no mafia guys got in before we got out.
“I think I’ll do fifty laps,” said Charlie, after the elevator doors closed.
“What about Marco Polo? I want to say we played Marco Polo in Italy.”
He looked at me like I was stupid. “Marco Polo came from Venice; Italy wasn’t a country back then.”
Trust him to turn something fun into a history lesson. “Yeah, whatever.”
The doors of the elevator opened and we followed the signs to the pool. It was an indoor pool, there were three lanes and it was probably about fifteen metres long – long enough for races. I knew as soon as I saw it that Charlie would want to race.
At first I didn’t see anyone in the pool, but then I noticed a figure push off from the edge. Geez, I wanted to have the whole pool to ourselves. Then I saw two men in black suits sitting at the side of the pool. The bad feeling in my gut came back. At first I didn’t recognize them because they weren’t wearing sunglasses. One of them got up and came over to us as Charlie and me were stripping down to our swimmers. I could barely take off my shorts, I was shaking so much.
The man in black was tall and he had big shoulders. He said something to us in Italian.
Charlie said, “Parla inglese?”
I knew that meant, Do you speak English? I hadn’t worked out how Charlie could say four English words in only two Italian words.
“Come back to swim later,” ordered the man in black.
“Sure,” I said and began to put my shorts back on. I wasn’t stupid. I knew from school that if someone three times bigger told me to do something, it was best to do it.
“We’re staying at the hotel. We’re allowed to use the pool.” Charlie folded his arms.
Was he crazy? “We can go back to our room and watch the wrestling,” I said to him. “Let’s go.”
The man in black leaned toward Charlie and said very softly, “Mr. Petruzzelli owns hotel.”
Mr. P must’ve been Mr. Mafia in the pool. That was good enough for me. I was out of here. If Charlie wanted to stay and get his head blown off, that was his business. Real casual, I began to walk back toward the elevator.
I heard a voice behind me. “Boy! You stop!”
Sally Gould loved books from a young age, but never considered writing them. While she was busy getting up to the mischief that teenagers get up to, she forgot about books all together. Then total insanity took hold and she became a corporate lawyer. Fortunately, she had two sons and they inspired her to write stories for children. Of course, her oldest son is responsible, logical, studious, considerate, grateful and even makes his bed. The youngest one is only interested in having fun – lots of it. And, except for his teachers, he makes everyone laugh. Their antics have inspired many of Sally’s stories. Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her family and two dogs – Pebbles, who is sensible, and Jade, who just wants to have fun.
Contact Sally Gould:
Series: Cottonmouth #3
Author: C. S. Fritz
Publisher: David C Cook
Publishing date: May 1 2015
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk
Synopsis: Not everyone has a furry beast for a best friend. But Freddie does. Tug loved Freddie so much he gave his life for him, then came back to life and left the boy with three mysterious gifts. Now Freddie’s determined to find Tug … but to do so, he must first discover the secrets of the gifts.
Cottonmouth and the End is the conclusion to the story of Freddie and his journey. Yellowthroat is still with him. The dark land he has entered will again test him, and he meets Menson the Deceiver again. In this book the parallel to the Gospel is much clearer than in the first two, but the story can still be enjoyed without adding religious dogma to the interpretation. It is a story of spiritual growth and moral. It shows us that there is nothing to be feared in the dark other than our own mind. Tug the King of the Great Blue makes a grand Aslanic entrance back into the story after Freddie has faced his final trials. All loose ties are tied up in the ending, I know where Freddie is going, I know where his parents are and I have a feeling of completion.
Again, the illustrations are great, but simplistic, and they are accompanying the words rather than drawing all the attention.
Series: Freddie Cottonmouth #1
Author:C. S. Fritz
Publisher: David C Cook
Publishing date: May 1st, 2014
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk
Synopsis: Meet Freddie Cottonmouth – A Boy Who Loves the River, Big Adventures, and a Furry Beast named Tug.
The story of the lonely boy Cottonmouth, is a rather sad one. The little boy has lost both his parents, and he lives in an empty house alone. Every day he goes to the river, hoping for his parents to return. It is rather unclear whether his parents left him or if they died, though from the sound of the story I would guess that they are dead.
The monster Tug is a rather interesting character, and made me think of “Where the Wild Things Are” though he does not possess the anger or “the Wild Things”
The simplicity of the illustrations adds to this rather straight forward story. Cottonmouth finds an egg that can grant him anything he wishes (but not the return of his parents), but he must never eat it. Of course he is struck with temptation, and must face the consequences of his actions. It is a very moralistic sort of story.
The story is rather grim, but it has a few up-notes. It’s ending has a pretty clear hint to what’s to come next.