Tag Archives: Children’s books

Illegal Aliens

Title:Illegal Aliens
Series: Aoleon The Martian Girl-Part 4
Author: Brent LeVasseur
Genre: Children’s Science Fiction
Publisher: Aoléon Press
Publishing date: February 1st 2015
ISBN:B00T3P4S92

Synopsis: After their saucer is destroyed, they crash land somewhere in the deep Martian desert, and they set out to locate Kyrios and the secret base where Aoléon’s parents are being held captive.

My Review:

This series quickly loses its charm on me. During the first few books I found it charming, but in the fourth book I just find the storyline annoying and too much is going on all over the place. The description of the book says that we will finally figure out whether or not they can save Aoleon’s parents, but nope that doesn’t happen. It seems like someone wrote the description then someone else wrote the book and they never bothered with checking the two against each other. Much of the humor that made the books funny and endurable before has went underground just like Aleoon’s father (which we never hear anything about anymore).

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The Luminess of Mars

Title: The Luminess of Mars
Series: Aoleon The Martian Girl #2
Author: Brent LeVasseur
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher:  Aoléon Pres
Publishing date: February 23rd 2015
ASIN: B00S70U8NE

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.

My Review:

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.

Author Bio

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.

Connect with Brent:   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Aoléon: The Martian Girl

Cottonmouth and the River

Title: Cottonmouth and the River
Series: Freddie Cottonmouth #1
Author:C. S. Fritz
Publisher: David C Cook
Publishing date: May 1st, 2014
ISBN: 9780781410335
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk

Synopsis: Meet Freddie Cottonmouth – A Boy Who Loves the River, Big Adventures, and a Furry Beast named Tug.

My Review:
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.

Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-offs

Author: Sarah Forbes
Publisher: Stripes Publishing:
Little Tiger Group
Publishing date: 05.05.2015
Purchase link: Amazon.co.uk
ISBN: 9781847155955

Synopsis: Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-offs is the first adventure featuring the fabulous Elspeth Hart, a modern heroine with doodles on her Converse trainers and unstoppable determination.

My Review:
Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-offs is written in a very “matter-of-factly” way. The narrator is situated outside the story and the fourth wall is broken several times in the first chapter.

The description promises a story that will delight readers of Roald Dahl and though there is a resemblance in the narration I do not think of this a Roald Dahl kind adventure.

It is a typical black and white story with evil and good (as far as I can tell) and it will certainly have an appeal to younger readers. Though I can not tell for certain as the ARC I received to review was not complete. Elspeth is a familiar characters and with her wardrobe sleeping I drew some resemblance to Harry Potter.

Oddly Normal

Title: Oddly Normal Vol. I
Author: Otis Frampton
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors
Publishing date: 24.03.2015
Purchase Link:Amazon.co.uk
ISBN: 9781632152268

Synopsis:
Meet Oddly Normal, a ten-year-old girl with pointed ears and green hair — a half-witch who will be the first to tell you that having a mother from a magical land called Fignation and a father from Earth doesn’t make it easy to make friends at school!

My Review:
Oddly Normal is the narrator and title character of the book. Half witch and half human she struggles to fit into the world. At her birthday after being annoyed with her mother and father she wishes for them to disappear, and they do. In order to stay safe Oddly has to go to Fignation with her mother’s sister.
In Fignation Oddly struggles to fit in on her new school filled with mythical creatures. and new bullies while her aunt ponder on how Oddly’s parents disappeared and how to get them back.

I very much enjoyed this story. Oddly was a fun character and the story progression was good. It did not throw in too much too early, and things were slowly explained. I look forward to future installments in the series, and I hope that Oddly will stay in Fignation for a while in order to explore this “unexplainable” world. In addition to the story I though the artwork was imaginative and interesting.

The Night Horses

Title: The Night Horses
Author: Anaka Jones
Publisher: Anaka Jones
Publishing Date:: 26.02.2015
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk
ISBN: 9781452882789

Synopsis:
In “The Night Horses”, Anaka Jones creates a playful children’s book that imagines the secret lives of barn horses who chatter, chow, play and work all while their owners are away.

My Review:
The Night Horses is a short, comedic story about a day in a horse lives. All the horses at the stable are presented to the reader, and then the fun begins. The story doesn’t have any sort of plot, but it is a well-rounded story, and it is humorous that the horses are given human characteristics. For example one of the horses is a comedian during the night, and two other horses does each other’s hair and make up.
I did find the story cut and funny, but I don’t feel like it is one I will read again. It should have been a bit more of a story in the book. Maybe if the book was twice as long (it only has fourteen pages) it would have some sort of story o it and feel more like a book.

Sky Rider

Author: Nancy Springer
Open Road Media Teen & Tween
Published: 30.12.2014

amazon.co.uk || Waterstones.com

The premise of Sky Rider was very interesting and good. The story of a ghost struggling to come to terms with his death, an alcoholic father he struggles to come to terms with his alcoholism and how it injured his daughter.
The story, though, seem a bit rushed, and the characters aren’t developed well. The story feels very superficial and the characters feels like characters, not people. As a book first published in 1999 I think it holds some standard, but as a book being republished in 2014 I feel like it is a story that I have read one time too many without having anything new contributing to it.

I did though very much enjoy the ghost to ghoul or angel aspect of the story, but I felt like it was only the beginning of a story and it ended where the story should have started. A guardian angel on a horse would a great story. The fact that the ghost name is Skye Ryder might be a bit much, when the books title is Sky Rider.

I will end it on a positive note and say that the story was entertaining and the story had a good and steady pace.

A horse for Kate

Horses and Friends (1)
Author: Miralee Ferrell
David C Cook
Published: 01.03.2015

Amazon.co.uk || Waterstones.com

As much I wished to enjoy this book it did fall flat for me. The premise of the story was very promising: a young girl moving to a new place with her parents and autistic brother, and she find a horse abandoned in a meadow.

Though the premise of the story, where Kate searched for friendship in a Latino heavy community where her white skin is frowned upon, the story fall flat as the writer doesn’t attempt to create characters but rather create puppets to preach through.  Kate never does anything wrong, she has a good dialogue with both her parents and she cares a lot for her brother. Nothing is wrong with having a good family with good relationships, but by making the family perfect (expect from financial struggle) takes away from developing real and believable characters. Obstacles comes into the way, but they also solve themselves without much suspense, which brings me back to say that the book is preaching. There is nothing wrong with a book holding up christian values, but there is a fine line between upholding a Christian moral and preaching. This book crossed far over in preaching-land: “Just do everything that is right, and everything you want will fall down in your lap.” The story would have been much more interesting and probably more entertaining had it not been so important for the author to be “political” (or rather “religiously”) correct throughout every page.

Another thing that was bothersome was the authors tendency to dump information on the reader, as well as having too wordy dialogues that over-explained everything.

Also the approach to horses in the book was uncomfortable. At more than one instance it is described how you can never trust a horse. My suggestion is: if you don’t trust the animal, don’t try riding it. I have been an active rider from a young age; a horse rider relationship is built on mutual trust and respect, not force and discipline.
Also, the pony that Kate complains about in the book is a large category II pony, a thirteen year old would not have complained that it was “not a real horse,” It is about 11 centimeters shorter than a horse. But that might be the single character-trait Kate has that makes up any conflict at all in this story: She complains if anything falls short of what she had in mind.

Jack Staples and the Ring of Time

Author: Mark Batterson 
& Joel N. Clark
David C Cook
Published: 01.09.2014

amazon.co.uk || Waterstones.com

To begin with “Jack Staples and the Ring of Time” was kind of hard to get into. The time jumping was confusing and not very easy to follow during the first few chapters. The pace started off a bit slow but picked up through the book and after two-thirds of it I was hooked. The world is built well, and everything is explained in due time.

There is an ancient battle going on between good and evil, and we are just starting to see it. All humans and animals are born with scales on their eyes which prevents them from seeing the evil creatures for what they are, but the scales are starting to come off, so people turn into the “awakened.”
Jack Staples is born without scales on his eyes and he has the ability to walk through time., a power he has to come to terms with and learn to control. Just because you can walk through time, it does not mean that you can play god, somethings cannot be change no matter how hard you try.

It is easy to see “The Author” and “The Assassin” as euphemism for “God” and “the Devil”, as they portray their characteristics through their representation of ancient good and evil. The book portray a Christian moral, but in a concealed way and without making the reader feel preached to..

I did not like the character of Mrs. Dumphry,as most of her dialogue felt contrived and her “riddles” were more of less only consisting on well-chewed clichés. And she seemed more like a “plot-device” rather than a necessary character.

However, I look forward to read more of this series. and see where Jack Staples end up.

Almost Perfect

Timber Ridge Riders (6)
Author: Maggie Dana
Pageworks Press
Published: 07.09.2013

Amazon.co.uk || Waterstones.com

This is the sixth installment in the Timber Ridge Riders series, and it is still enjoyable. This installment had more “boytrouble” in it, and the characters acted like teenagers. Holly got suspicious of her best-friend Kate, while Kate conspired with Holly’s boyfriend Adam to prepare a surprise party. Not to mention that Kate is dragging herself into a premature love-triangle with Nathan and Brad. The aspect of “boytrouble” does not interest me much, but it gives another aspect to Kate’s and Holly’s life.

The story is fast-paced and easy to read, but there is a lack of change in the narrative every time the author changes between Holly’s and Kate’s point of view. Which makes it confusing to follow at times. Though the story in itself is quite simple and easy to catch up on again. It is interesting to see how the “everyday” teenager problems are handled and solved, though I still wish to see a more rounded antagonist in Angela.

Almost Perfect is not the book I have enjoyed most in the series, but it was entertaining and I look forward to the next installment in the series.