Wednesday, December 29, 2010
And now for a review of a truly rockin' book--Behemoth by the amazing Scott Westerfeld. I was a huge fan of Leviathan, the first book in this trilogy, and I would have been happy if this second one had been just as good. Well, guess what--this one's even better!!
The story takes place in Istanbul (or Constantinople), Turkey in 1914. World War I has just broken out--except, in this story, the world is a little different from the real world of WWI. This is an "alternate history" story; the Germans and Austrians (called "Clankers") use walking war machines, while the British and their allies (called "Darwinists") use fabricated animals. The two main characters, Prince Alek of Austria and Dylan Sharp (who's really Deryn--I'll get to that in a minute) have flown to Istanbul. Prince Alek is a prisoner of the British. Dylan is with Dr. Barlow, the granddaughter of Charles Darwin, who is on a mission to deliver a secret cargo to the Sultan. Things do not go as planned, however. The mission fails spectacularly, Prince Alek escapes, hides in Istanbul and joins a revolutionary movement to overthrow the Sultan. In the meantime, Dylan performs acts of heroism, gets sent on an underwater mission and discovers a deadly Clanker weapon. And speaking of secrets, important people start to discover Dylan's secret--which is that Dylan is really Deryn, a girl who disguised herself as a boy to join the Royal Air Service!
If you liked all the adventure, excitement, humor of Leviathan, then get ready, because this book has all that plus some!! You've got Clanker machines attacked on the streets of Istanbul, strange Darwinist animals, daring nighttime escapes and an unbelievable battle at the end. And the illustrations!!! In most books, the pictures are just--well, they're just sort of there and don't really add anything. In Behemoth, the illustrations really take you into the story and bring everything vividly to life. I enjoyed this one and I'm sure you will, too. I can't wait until next year when Goliath, the third book, comes out!!
PS--if you want to see my review of Leviathan, click here. If you haven't read it already, you could go right to Behemoth, but I'd advise you to read Leviathan first so you get a better sense of what's going on.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Yeah, baby, that's the way to rock the night away! Well, the holiday is right around the corner.The library will be closed for three days and I plan to kick back, relax, and spend time with family and friends. I might even get some reading time and I'd love to tell you all about it. I'm only pages away from finishing Behemoth and, MAN, is it good!!! Better than the first one and that's saying a lot. I certainly wish every one of you all the love, joy and peace of the season.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
PS--click here to see my review of the Dawn Treader audiobook!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Kringle is named after the sound a bell makes when he's born. He's living with his guardian in Britain in the fifth-century A.D. The Roman armies have left, though, and that means order is breaking down That means the bad guys are taking over. And that means the goblins--and these aren't your cutesy fairy-tale goblins, either. They're the real thing--vicious, quick, and able to do serious damage to anyone who messes with them. After they capture his guardian, he goes out to rescue her but stumbles onto the goblins' true plan--and his destiny to become gift-giver to the world.
"Wait a minute," you might say, "We've been hornswoggled! You mean this book's about Santa Claus??!!" Well, yeah, but his isn't some Hallmark holiday story. This book's got danger, fights, escapes, magic--as I said, everything a guy could ask for in a book! So don't let this holiday season go by without reading Kringle!! Got that? Then go get it!!
Saturday, November 27, 2010
OK, enough goofiness. The holiday season is upon us and I can't think of a better way to start us off than with a review from our good friend MICHAEL, King of Books and Time Travel:
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Note: In order to understand this book, you will have to have read the other two books in The Missing series prior to Sabotaged.
Jonah and Katherine are at it again, this time helping Andrea, who is really Virginia Dare. But when Andrea loses the Elucidator, they have no contact with JB. What's worse, they're also working against a mysterious being who is known as Second. Trying to find Andrea's tracer is no easy task, especially with two tracer boys who have yet to be filled. Who is Second? Who belongs in the tracer boys? Will the three-some ever find Andrea's tracer, and, more importantly, get back to the present? Find out in Sabotaged. I think this book was really well written. I expected it to be rushed, considering it came out so soon after Into the Gauntlet. But I was pleasantly surprised. Haddix explores even more depths of time travel and the limits of tracers. If you like time travel in the least, get a hold of this book!
Thanks, Michael! I read the first book in this series and liked it a lot. (It's called Found--see my review here) This one sounds really good. What's that you say, guys? You want to know what an Elucidator is? Or a tracer? You're just going to have get these books and find out!
Friday, November 26, 2010
Yep, I'd say that The Three Furies is one of my best best picks.
One of my best PICKS!! Get it!!! Hee, hee, hee, that's a regular knee-slapper!!
Yeah, yeah, Prospector, go tell your jokes to the coyotes.
Hey, guys, it's Carl again. All silliness aside, The Three Furies really is one terrific book!! The great Kaza Kingsley has written another unbelievable addition to the Erec Rex saga and this may be the best one yet.
Erec is now 14. He's completed five of the quests he needs to become one of the three kings of the Kingdom of the Keepers. The problem is that Thanatos Baskania, the Shadow Prince, has captured his best friend Bethany and is combing her mind to find the Final Magic that will enable him to dominate the world--or destroy it. But that's not the worst of it--Baskania has made a deal with the Three Furies who have been imprisoned in Tartarus for thousands of years. He's agreed to release them if they will serve him. But can even he, as powerful as he is, hope to stop the Furies once they're free? And what can Erec possibly do against such overwhelming forces?? I mean it, if you like fantasy, adventure, danger and humor, then you will completely and totally enjoy The Three Furies.
One more thing--if you want guys want to stop reading here, you can do it. Some guys just want to find out if a book is any good or not. If you're one of those, you could stop right now--especially if you're going out the door to get this book. But if you don't mind my going into a little more depth, then keep reading.
I've said this before with all the Erec Rex reviews but let me say it again. What separates a good fantasy story from the really great one? It's the sense of wonder. That means the feeling of living in a place that's so overwhelmingly beautiful or scary or magical (or all of the above) that it makes you stop and say, "Wooww!" Not many stories do that. There are lots and lots of good, exciting fantasy stories out there and I enjoy them all, but very few of them give me that sense of wonder. The Lord of the Rings did and so did the Percy Jackson books. And so does Erec Rex. That's why I get so excited about them. Guys, you just have to visit his world to believe it. You won't soon forget what it's like in The Nightmare Realm, nor will you enter a place as dangerous as Baskania's fortress. It still creeps me out whenever I see all those eyes sink back into Baskania's body and the brief visits to the beautiful lands of Otherness take my breath away. These glimpses into wonder keep me coming back for more and more. I bet you'll feel the same. Besides, Ms. Kingsley tells one great story! Don't miss this one, guys! Or any of the others. But let me give you a hint--it's probably best to read the other books first. This book will make more sense that way. But I don't think you'll mind--reading the other three is better than a Cloud Cream treat!!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Hey, once again, reader guys everywhere! I know I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. Even with all the changes that have happened with the library, there are still a lot of reasons to be grateful--this blog is still running, there are more good books coming out all the time, and there are still faithful reader guys like Michael, King of Books and Time Travel, who continues to tell us about terrific books. He has just sent us two excellent reviews:
Greg Heffley is officially not friends anymore with Rowley Jefferson. They had a big fight, and they're over with. But while Greg unsuccessfully searches for new friend, his misadventures continue. From school sleepovers, to Uncle Gary's fifth wedding, to getting "the Talk" from Gammie, Greg must come face to face with the ugly truth. This book has the same Wimpy Kid humor that we all love, but half of it is crude, and I'll admit that the writing isn't as good. Although this is not one of Kinney's better books in this series, I think that you will still find it thoroughly enjoyable.
I always knew it. The Cahills are everywhere. I've got a copy of this book reserved and can't wait for it to come in!! Thanks, Michael, and have a great Thanksgiving--and all you other guys too!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
A 12 year old View of the World My son Dark Omen (age 12) is writing a novel. He's been diligently working on it for some time now (since the summer). We discussed it over dinner.
Me: What genre is your story?
Dark Omen: Well, it's science fiction and adventure. And mystery, too. But no romance.
Me: No romance?
Dark Omen: No! Why would I write a scene about that, when I can be writing about the Carillions attacking the base?
Me: Are there any girls in your story?
Dark Omen: *makes face* Of course! It wouldn't be even if there weren't any girls.
Me: So, there are girl characters and boy characters in your story. They just don't fall in love.
Dark Omen: Well, somewhere in the universe of my story there are probably girls and boys falling in love. I just don't waste words writing about it.
Well said, Dark Omen!! Why waste words on romance and all that stuff when there are space battles!! It was obvious that I had to know this guy better!! So I emailed his mom and got permission to quote from her post and also to ask him some questions. Then I emailed him some interview questions (most of them are the same questions I ask grownup writers) and, being a truly great guy, he answered all of them and sent them back. Here's what he said.
What made you decide to write a book?
My class was making “Exquisite Corpse” books (books where everyone takes a turn writing in them). I started my book and left it out for people to write in. When nobody did, I decided to take it home and write the whole thing myself.
Tell us a little about your book. (no spoilers!)
The book starts out with a bang when Exibluar is rescued from an underground tunnel complex in which evil ewoks were chasing him. Aidan Dawn is a Cavalieri with great skill with both mind powers and computers. Steve Irwin is a slightly less powerful Cavalieri with a knack for adventure. Nathaniel Lil is a highly disciplined Galactic Government soldier. Exibluar Hazahat is a quirky Rosarian who’s future may be invaluable to the galaxy at large…
Tell us about some of your favorite books.
I like Harry Potter (all of them), Artemis Fowl (all of them as well), Star Wars (yes, all of them), Ranger’s Apprentice (same as the last three times), Percy Jackson (…make that the last four times), the Leviathan trilogy (I don’t know why I’m still making these), the Hitchhiker’s Guide series (I hope you get the point by now), and many more.
Why is it cool for boys to read?
I don’t know why it’s “cool” per say, but I do know that for me it is enjoyable as well as educational.
Why is it cool for them to write?
I hate to say so, but most of the people in my class (and even my school) groan when a teacher tells them to write something (or even take out their writing/Language Arts notebooks)
Why are grownups so obsessed with romance and kissing and all that mushy stuff?
In a nutshell, I have no idea. Personally, I fast-forward through love scenes, never write them, and have my heart set on buying lots of cats instead of getting married.
What's it like having a mom who's a writer?
The only differences are that
a)S She has a blog about writing
b)S She has written several novels and published one
Sh She's always on the computer
Sh She sometimes come into the school to give talks about writing.
Which do you like better--cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?
I like pizza better, with either pepperoni or cheese.Thanks, Dark Omen! Yeah, reading is enjoyable and educational--and most guys don't think the two can ever go together!! That's one reason I run this blog--to prove that those two words CAN go right next to each other. And it thrills me to no end to hear from reader guys like you who believe it too. And there really such things as evil ewoks?? Interesting!!
Well, Dark Omen was also good enough to send us a excerpt from his book-in-progress. Here you go:
“It fired missles!” Steve yelled, “They’re 200 yards behind us!”
“Jump coordinates set!”
“Navigations computer calibrating.”
“Initiating acceleration to Ultra-lightspeed!”
Vvvvvviip! CRRRRACK! CRRACK! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
“What in the galaxy is happening?” exclaimed Steve.
“I TOLD YOU to fix those stress points, Exibluar!” Aidan slammed his fist on a large flashing red button. Vviiissssss!
“I’ve dropped us out of Ultra-lightspeed, we’re still in the Erian system, except now we’re by Erian VII instead of Erian IV,” Aidan announced. “If we had continued any longer, we would have exploded.”
“It’s amazing how many ships we go through in one day,” observed Steve. “Isn’t it, Exibluar?”
“Don’t blame me!” Exibluar retaliated.
“Why not?” Steve shot back.
“Because…uh…I…” Exibluar struggled to find an excuse.
“Let’s just go down to Erian VII,” Nathaniel suggested.Wow! Very good, Dark Omen!! Makes me want to read more--which is what a good book is supposed to do! Would you mind sending us more excerpts as you go along? And send us some reviews of your favorite books. (I'd especially like to hear what you thought of Behemoth) Thanks again and here's hoping we hear from you again!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
One signed himself "Super Extremely Awesome Guy." I think that describes all of you! Especially you, Mr. H. And most especially you, Mr. Westerfeld! Leviathan is an amazing book and I'm looking forward to getting into Behemoth. (It's next on my list after Erec Rex) Thanks again, everybody!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
zombiekins by kevin bolger
funniest book ever.
i loved it. stanley buys zombiekins at a yard sale. zombiekins starts a zombie plague.
all heck breaks loose cant say much more other than see ya
Thanks, AXEL! This book sounds really funny. Another good friend (and Honorary Guy),Ms. Yingling, reviewed it on her blog. There are plenty of copies in the system, so go get one and tell what you think!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
BTW, here are the covers for the Z. Rex and the Zombiekins books:
AXEL started the Zombiekins book and says it's funny. Let us know how liked it, bro!!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
It also means the arrival of some great new books like Behemoth, The Ghostwriter Secret: Brixton Brothers 2, The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel, and The 39 Clues: Black Book of Buried Secrets. But the most-anticipated book this month is The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. It's the first in the Heroes of Olympus series, which will be all about the kids at Camp Half-Blood. (You can read the first two chapters here) The book comes out Tuesday, October 5, so I'm going to hold a Find the Lost Hero game that day from 3:00--6:00 here at the Myers Park library. It'll be a scavenger-hunt game. Come to the desk, get your game sheet and use it to search for the Lost Hero. There will be prizes for everyone who completes the game. Remember, it's on Tuesday, October 5 from 3:00--6:00 pm at the Myers Park library.
October also means the World Series and the end of the baseball season. It'll also mean the end of the Sluggers giveaway that started back in April. Basically, I'll give a prize package to any guy who reads all six books in the Sluggers (aka Barnstormers) series and sends us reviews of them. Sound like a tall order? Well, you'll have until the end of October to do it. That's a little more than 3 weeks. (yes, I know the World series will be over by then!) Anyway, you can click here to find out more and click here and here to see two of your fellow reader guys who won prize packages.
I'll also keep the Manliest Books for Boys Giveaway going until of October. Back in June, Charlotte was voted the Manliest City in America. Since all of us who read this blog are MANLY MEN, I created a list of truly MANLY books for boys and I'll give out prizes to any boy who writes a review of one or more of those books. Click here to find out more.
All right, MEN, go out and enjoy October and let us hear from you!
Monday, September 27, 2010
PS--click here to see my review of Leviathan.
PPS--some of our brother readers at the SMS Guys Read blog got an advance copy and have already reviewed it. Take a look at their site and be sure to scroll down.
Monday, September 20, 2010
PS--there's also a link to the book trailer--take a look here.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
This is the final book in this fantastic series. Dan and Amy Cahill are closing in on the secret to becoming the most powerful people on earth. And so are their evil cousins, who will will stop at nothing to gain that secret. But not only do Dan and Amy have to keep it away form their unbelievable cousins, they also have to get the other four branches of the Cahill family to work together. Not an easy task, since they've basically been at war for 500 years! They must succeed, however, for the sake of the whole human race.
Man, oh, man, will you enjoy this one!! There are ninjas, exploding underground tunnels, a confrontation on mountain top, and an all-Cahill family fight on the Globe Theatre stage! (And, I tell you, I have never been so scared for Dan as when he was dangling off the side of that enormous cliff!!) You can see that there's enough action and heart-pounding excitement to satisfy any reader guy. Plus there are MAJOR surprises--including one that will leave you wondering, "Is this really the end of the Clue hunt? Or only the beginning of an even MORE major adventure?" You'll ask yourselves the same question after you read Into the Gauntlet. Don't miss it!!! And if you don't believe me that this a terrific book, read what your fellow reader guy Michael said in the post under this one.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Amy and Dan have recently met their great uncle, Fiske, and he has told them that they need to not only win the clue-hunt for the Madrigals, but to also accomplish the 500-year task of uniting all of the Cahill branches. WHAT!!! Alistair Oh and Jonah Wizard? Sinead Starling and Ian Kabra? Eisenhower Holt and Dan Cahill? Impossible! Or is it? And not to mention the most evil woman in the world: Isabel Kabra. Who will be the first through the gauntlet? Who will drink Gideon Cahill's master serum? Who is going to rule the world? No one could write the 39 Clues better than Margaret Peterson Haddix, and you're guaranteed to be on the edge of your seat the entire time! Also, look for the newest 39 Clues book coming October 26: The Black Book of Buried Secrets.
Thanks, Michael! You beat me to the punch on a couple of these. I have Into the Gauntlet and am about one-third of the way through. It's really good so far. I just checked out a copy of N.E.R.D.S. 2 last week and it looks good too. The library has copies of Ook and Gluk in the system, so I've just put one on hold. You've given me something new to look at, Michael! Thanks again and keep writing!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
What'S this---something's interfering with my typin--------
Will give a full report when finished. Agent Flexing bear signing out.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Here's the story--It's the time of the American Revolutionary War. 13-year-old Samuel lives with his parents in a little settlement in the Pennsylvania woods. They've heard stories of British soldiers attacking Concord, but that seems a long way off. Then, one day while he's out hunting, Samuel sees a column of smoke. When he realizes it's coming from where his home would be, he runs back to find...well, you'll just have to read to find out!! But I guarantee that you'll get caught up in the action!! This book grabs hold of you and makes you sit down and turn pages until the very end. You REALLY want to know what happens to our young hero. And, when you see what he goes through, you'll understand how much of a hero he becomes! Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen--this is one that you should not miss!!
BTW, I'd recommend this book to our older reader guys. War is, by its nature, rough and brutal and the Revolutionary War was one of the roughest and most brutal. Although there isn't much graphic violence, what you read is startling. And some of it is very sad. That what war is, guys, and we do well to remember that.
And we also do well to remember the sacrifices that people like Samuel made. Even though this is a fictional story, there were a great many brave people who endured hardships in the Revolutionary War. We have the right to read what we like because of them. Don't forget!!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
In the meantime, I've got a few books checked out. One is Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen. All reader guys know that Mr. Paulsen is one of the very best authors for guys out there. (His book Hatchet made our Manliest Books for Boys Giveaway list as well as the Books Every Guy Should Read list. Another book, Lawn Boy, is an extremely funny read!) Woods Runner is about 13-year old Samuel and the Revolutionary War. I'm about 1/4th of the way through and it is intense! Can't wait to finish it.
Another is The Dangerous Book of Heroes by Conn and David Iggulden. It's full of stories about famous people such as George Washington, Lawrence of Arabia, and Harry Houdini, as well as not-so famous heroes as Alcock and Brown or the men of Colditz. I'm reading thechapter on George Washington and it's amazing. Can't wait to finish this one either.
Finally there's Genies, Meanies, and Magic Rings: Three Tales from the Arabian Nights by Stephen Mitchell.These are retellings of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, Abu Keer and Abu Seer, and Aladdin. I've heard good things about this one and besides, I love the Ali Bab and Aladdin stories. (did you know the Aladdin story was originally set in China?? That's right--and it's in this book!)
There you go. Hope to give you full reports when I finish. What about YOU? What are you reading this summer? Hit that "Comment" button below and tell us. Any guy who sends a review gets a free book! And don't forget about the giveaways going on this summer. Take a look at the top of the left-hand side of the page to find out.
And, since it's summer, let's have some summer fun. Here's a goofball video for you by Spike Jones and His City Slickers. Spike is one of my all-time favorite performers and one of the funniest guys ever to pick up an instrument. He took popular songs of the day (this was waaayyy back in the day) and did all sorts of crazy things with them. Sort of a Weird Al before there as a Weird Al. Here he does "Sabre Dance", a classical piece that a lot of circus performers used as background music. But it never sounded like this!
Speaking of Weird Al, here's one for you. Just try not to laugh! (Pardon the commercial)
And here's Weird Al talking about Spike Jones!
OK, keep readin' and enjoyin' your summer!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
You've probably seen the two Disney movies with the talking animals that were based on this book. (There was an even older version from waaayy back in the day, but I bet you haven't seen that one!) Well, those were good but they don't give ANY idea of how thrilling and rough and rugged the original story is! This isn't some cutesy animal tale but real nature, "red in tooth and claw", where survival does not come easily!
There are three animals, a bull terrier, a Labrador Retriever, and a Siamese cat, who are staying with a man up north in the Canadian woods. He's taking care of them while their real owner is gone and, when he goes on a hunting the trip, the three are accidentally left by themselves. Their instinct to return to their real home overtakes them and they head off. The problem is that their home is 300 miles away through the untamed Canadian wilderness! And this is back before there were cell phones or GPS, so no one knows they're gone! How can three pets possibly survive alone in the dangerous wilderness? Well, you'll find out when you listen to this truly incredible story! Megan Follows reads this story perfectly, pacing the action just right to give it maximum excitement. If you have to spend some time in the car this summer, I couldn't think of a better way to pass the time!
And if you want to find out about other good audiobooks, look for the "Labels" section on the left-hand side of the page and click on "audiobooks." Happy listening!
Monday, July 26, 2010
But enough of me; let's hear what the author has to say:
Why is it cool for boys to read?When you watch a movie or play a video game, your imagination isn’t really working. You’re letting someone else tell you how to picture a character or see a scene. But when you read a book, your own brain is filling in the details—you get to see your own unique version of the story in your head.
Why is it cool for boys to write?
For a similar reason. You have a chance to show people your vision of the world. And when you’re writing a story, you get to control everything. What people say and do. Where the story takes place. Whether the world has monsters and dragons or whether it looks just like your hometown. The only limit is your own imagination.
What books did you like to read as a boy ?
I read everything. Some of my favorites were Swallowdale, Treasure Island, the Hornblower series, and The Hobbit. When I was a little younger I loved everything by E.B. White. Especially Trumpet of the Swan
I’ve never heard of Swallowdale—sounds interesting! Did you read any comics? Did you have any
I didn’t read a lot of comics, but my best friend and I would go out and buy every new issue of The Punisher
1961 feels like ancient history to most of us. What made you write about something so long ago?
I think it’s interesting to realize that people who lived before us aren’t actually that different. Maybe they didn’t have the internet or cell phones in 1961, but kids faced a lot of the same challenges. It’s also fun to travel to a different world and imagine what it would have been like to live there.
Baseball was more popular then than now. Can you tell us about how incredibly popular it was in 1961?
Baseball was by far the biggest sport in America. The Super Bowl hadn’t even been invented yet, and professional hockey and basketball were played in small arenas and rarely seen on television. Meanwhile, more than sixty percent of the televisions in America would tune in to watch the World Series. In 1961 every kid in the New York area had an opinion on Maris and Mantle. It was huge.
Why do you like to write about baseball?
Because I love the game.
Could you tell us about the new book that you are writing?
I’m writing about Satchel Paige. He was one of the best pitchers in America, but he couldn’t play in the major leagues because it was during segregation and he was black. One summer in 1935 he played for a team in North Dakota. My story is about a young pitcher who befriends him and their wild adventures that season.
Which do you like better, pizza or cheeseburgers? What do you like on them?
Tough question. I love them both, but I guess I’d have to say cheeseburgers. I like mine western style, which means with cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and bbq sauce. But I’ll eat them almost any way—including with a fried egg.
Well, you live in San Francisco, so it’s only natural that you’d like them western style. Come over to Charlotte and I’ll get you a Carolina style burger! Thanks for the interview. We’ll look forward to your new book!So if any of you haven't read Lucky yet, go to your local library or bookstore and get a copy. And take a look at the fun stuff about baseball, 1961 Yankees, Roger Maris and more on Mr. Tooke's website. And besides that, for you reader guys who are on Facebook, Louis May has his own page. Check it out here.
So, guys, have any of you read this book? Then write in and tell us what you thought of it!