Wednesday, June 18, 2014

J's Review - The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

Series: Michael Vey #1
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Release Date: 2011
Pages: 326
Age Range: 12+
Goodreads Rating: 4.12/5 Stars
J's Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:  My name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange. Very strange. It’s my story.

To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.

Michael thinks he's unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor also has special powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up this way, but their investigation brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric children – and through them the world. Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers, and friends if he’s to survive.

This review is a little different than what I typically post here on Best Kids' Reads because the review was written entirely by my 11-year-old son.  He loved this series and wanted to tell everyone about it!  (I haven't actually read this one, so I can't give my parental input).  Watch for even more reviews by J in the future!

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25, is, in my opinion, one of the best books ever written. It is an action packed Fantasy written by Richard Evans where a boy named Michael who has electric powers meets a cheerleader named Taylor who has the ability to read others’ minds and make them lose their train of thought. While trying to find out if there were more kids like them, Taylor is kidnapped! If you want to find out what is next, you will have to find out for yourself by… googling it? Or is it reading the book? I forget which one. 

Anyhow, this book definitely gets five out of five stars, although the first ¼ of the book is not nearly as interesting as the rest because it was setting up for the exciting parts of the book. 

If you like Harry Potter, you will probably like this book as well, seeing as the characters in both never get haircuts, don’t have cell phones, and use special powers to overcome an extremely overwhelming evil force.

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Books in this series (so far):

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Review & Giveaway - Unicorn Thief by RR. Russell

Title: Unicorn Thief
Author: R.R. Russell
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Pages: 270
Age Range: 9-12
Goodreads Rating: 3.94/5 Stars
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:  Danger lurks in the mist.

Twig and Ben are unicorn riders--guardians whose job it is to keep the last free unicorn herd safe. But a new danger is threatening the beautiful, mysterious creatures of Lonehorn Island. A thief from Terracornus has snuck onto the misty island and stolen Ben's loyal unicorn, Indy. There's only one path for Ben and Twig--straight into the secret, shadowy heart of the island and through the passage to Terracornus.

But their rescue mission is unexpectedly complicated by a secret Ben has been hiding. A secret about the Queen of Terracornus who has enslaved all the unicorns of Ben's homeland. A secret that could save them all--or start a war.

The Unicorn Thief is a really fun and adventurous follow-up to Wonderlight!  My 10-year-old daughter and I have both really enjoyed this series, and we can't wait to read more!

What I loved:
  • Unicorn Riders.  I love the concept of these books.  Ben is a unicorn rider, and Twig discovers that she's one as well.  The unicorns in this series are not really magical creatures - they're simply incredibly intelligent creatures that have a bond with their riders.  In this book, Twig struggles with what it means to be a unicorn rider, and how she can live up to her responsibilities as a rider while still living with the rules that are set for her by her "family" on Lonehorn Island (where she was sent in the first book when her family thought that she had tried to hurt her step-sister - that was all resolved in book #1, but Twig has stayed on the island for the time being).
  • Ben's secret.  Ben has a secret that he works hard to keep from Twig.  There is something about his past that he doesn't want to face.  Now, as an adult, I figured out pretty quickly what the secret was, but it definitely added an interesting dynamic to the book.  Once Ben's secret is revealed, Twig and Ben's journey to rescue Ben's unicorn becomes much more complicated!
  • The mystery of the unicorn thief.  The mystery of who the unicorn thief was and why he was stealing unicorns (especially Ben's!) was really well done.  I was surprised by the outcome!
  • The swamp.  I think that the very best thing about this book was the swamp and the competition of sorts that took place there.  The swamp is full of strange and dangerous creatures, not to mention the swamp fire.  The trip through the swamp was exciting and full of peril! 
The negatives:
  • Permissive adults.  The adults in these books sometimes surprise me with how okay they are with letting Twig face danger.  They do put up the occasional argument, but it's not much.  When Twig's dad comes back from his military deployment, he doesn't seem at all alarmed at everything Twig has been through.  This part feels just a little bit unrealistic, but I know it's kind of necessary for the story to happen.
I highly recommend  this series to kids who love adventurous books.  My daughter and I are looking forward to reading more!  I give this 4.5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the publisher (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky) in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

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About the Author
R.R. Russell lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. She grew up traveling the world as an army brat and now travels the country as a coach with a non-profit judo club. She loves to read and draw, and like Twig, once spent a lot of time sketching unicorns.

Author Links:
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