Tag Archives: MG fiction

Book Review: Audie the Angel and the Angel Army (The Angel Archives, vol 1) – by Erika Kathryn

The Angel Archives, book 1Book: Audie the Angel and the Angel Army (The Angel Archives, vol.1)
Author: Erika Kathryn
Publisher: Erika Kathryn
Date: December 1, 2012
Genre: MG chapter book, fantasy, adventure
Pages: 206
Price: paper, $9.89; Kindle $4.67
My Rating: unusual angel fantasy for middle grade readers
 

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Audie the Angel and the Angel Army (The Angel Archives, vol.1),  written by Erika Kathryn, is intended for middle grade readers and has clean language. Audie is a twelve-year-old girl who learns she is not only a girl, but also an angel, after she is whisked off to heaven. There she is instructed in all manner of things to develop her innate skills which she didn’t even know she had. Audie is needed to help save heaven.

The one telling the story is a twelve-year-old boy who has very romantic feelings for Audie, and who ends up being taken along because he witnessed the moment when another angel comes to transport Audie to heaven.

Erika Kathryn has taken great liberties and is very imaginative in her portrayal of heaven and angels. She also uses humour and has developed characters who are very human in personality – except for Audie who is depicted as being perfect in every way – but who have angel abilities, albeit unusual ones. Young readers will probably be quite amused and interested in the story which includes drama, battles, and rivalry. Also, there are ten fun trivia questions in the back of the book to test the reader’s memory on what is in the book.

It would have helped had the author referred to a thesaurus while writing this book and had better editing to catch the things she missed. There are some misspelled words and a few words which have entirely different meanings from what Erika Kathryn obviously intended.

Audie the Angel and the Angel Army (The Angel Archives, vol.1)  by Erika Kathryn is the beginning of a series.

You can find Audie the Angel and the Angel Army (The Angel Archives, vol.1) listed on my Buy The Book! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Infinity Ring, Book one: A Mutiny In Time – by James Dashner

Infinity Ring, book 1, A Mutiny in TimeBook: Infinity Ring, book one: A Mutiny in Time
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Date: August 28, 2012
Genre: MG (age 9+, grade 4-6); dystopian
Pages: 192
Price: $8.99 US; also available for Kindle and as an audio book
My Rating: exciting read to start off the series
 

I won this book with a poster, a 3-D sticker and a fold-out map to go with the online game.

It’s always fun to win something, and when I win a book it is a special thrill. I received an autographed ARC (advanced reading copy) of Infinity Ring, book one: A Mutiny in Time, so now you know (if you read the stats above) I read it quite awhile ago. Even though I wasn’t asked to, I decided to post a brief review because this volume is the first of a series that might interest a child (age 9 and up) in your life. Book eight of the series is due to be released in August of this year.

The first characters we meet are a couple of adventurous young friends, Dak and Sera. Quickly the reader learns there is trouble in their world – the very real chance it is going to end soon. Something has to be done to prevent it. Also, there is Dak’s parents’ very important invention – the Infinity Ring, a device that allows time travel – that someone bad is after, and that Dak and Sera have found. Worse yet, Dak’s parents have disappeared – lost in time! The young friends are determined to help, but their discovery of the Infinity Ring has put them in danger. Of course, that doesn’t stop them and they decide to go back in time to find Dak’s parents and also fix history while doing it.

Now, how is that for an exciting story a youngster is bound to like? This adventure is very easy to read and get caught up in, the pace keeps one’s interest, and surprises along the way keep the story moving. There is decent humour, too, which always adds a nice touch. I didn’t try the online game but that is something maybe my grandson will do with me now that he is nearly nine.

Look for book one of the Infinity Ring: A Mutiny in Time. The series is written by several authors, but James Dashner  is the author of books one and seven of the series.

You can find Infinity Ring: A Mutiny in Time listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

Interview with young author Erik Weibel, and book giveaway!

This Kid Reviews BooksI am very pleased to introduce to you the youngest author I have interviewed so far. Erik Weibel is the author of The Adventures of Tomato and Pea, book 1: A Bad Idea. If you missed my review of his book you can read it here. I hope you enjoy our interview and then participate in the giveaway.

Hello, Erik. Welcome to my interview chair; it’s my pleasure to interview you before you become famous. 🙂 Please tell us a little 
about yourself.

Thank you for having me here Mrs. Davidson! I am 12 years old and I am in 6th grade. I run the blog This Kid Reviews Books that I started when I was 9. I also write a monthly book column for The Upper Bucks Free Press.

You are a very ambitious pre-teen! Now that you have a book out, do you consider yourself to be “a writer”? If so, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Who or what inspired you?

I guess I am a writer. I blog, I have a newspaper column and I am trying to write books.

I have always liked to write, but it was my uncle, Dave Costella, who got me interested in writing Tomato & Pea. Uncle Dave made two stuffed toys and told me they were named Tomato and Pea (I think he named them after the color of the fabric he made them out of). Dave gave me the toys and asked me if I could write a story about them (I am always making up stories). I was nine years old at the time. Dave told me he didn’t care what the story was about, to just use my imagination. That was my original prompt to write an entire story for the first time.

Your Uncle Dave must be delighted. 🙂 I know you are a voracious reader. Do you read every day? How many books do you think you read in a month?

I actually get into trouble at school and at home because I read so much. I read every day, no exceptions. I can’t remember ever not reading something on any day. I started keeping a list of the books I read every month. I read about 20-30 books per month. This past February I have 30 books listed.

You read three times as many books as I did in February. Do you have any favourite authors, genres, or books so far?

Brian Jacques, Rick Riordan, Roland Smith, Jude Watson, Nick Bruel, Michael Buckley, James Patterson, Tom Angleberger, Brandon Mull, Matt Phelan, Chris Grabentstein, Matt Myklusch… I can go on and on… my list is too big. Brian Jacques is one of my top 3 favorite authors, and I wish to be more like him in his writing. I love Fantasy and Sci-Fi and Action Adventure books. A specific book? Impossible. 😉

Would you read less so you can write more? Or would you write less so you can read more?

I write when I get in the mood (an average of 2-3 hours a week), so I don’t think I would change much. I think I have a good balance of both. I enjoy both so I wouldn’t give one up for the other.

Do you have a motto or Bible verse or quote that you try to live by and that helps to keep you motivated?

I will quote Master Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.” I also try to live by the Golden Rule: To treat others as you wish to be treated.

I like that quote, too. I may have to post it somewhere on my blog (and near my desk) as a reminder to keep moving forward. As for the Golden Rule, if everyone would keep it in mind we would live in a happier world. What is your biggest dream for your life, Erik?

Besides a world-famous author and a government agent (AKA secret agent AKA spy!), I want to try to make the world a better place somehow. Maybe help people through whatever work I will be doing.

Interesting choices! It’s always good to strive to be a good influence. What can you tell us about your very first time to be published (before your book), how did that happen?

I wrote a poem called “One Kid” for Dr. Niamh Clune of Plumb Tree Books. It was published in an anthology called “The Song of Sahel.” It was a charity event to help the people of Sahel Africa. My sister Josie painted a picture that was published in the same book. We were very happy to be published in the book and that it was for such a good cause.

What have you had published thus far? What do you most enjoy writing?

The poem for “The Song of Sahel”, my book The Adventures of Tomato and Pea, and the articles I write for the Upper Bucks Free Press are things that have been officially published. I compete a lot in writing contests too. Sometimes they get posted on other people’s blogs.

I really like writing funny stories. I like to make people (and myself) laugh. I also like to write fantasy. It’s cool to get lost in another world.

I appreciate good humour and enjoy reading fantasy, so I look forward to your future books. What helps you with writing and perfecting a book or article?

I read a lot of articles and took classes on how to make your writing better. I also ask for help from other people to critique my work. I think it helps to have others cheer you on and give you good advice (not necessarily what you want to hear, but honest advice). That helps keep you motivated.

Sometimes it is hard to accept what you don’t want to hear, but your writing will keep improving with your good attitude. How do you keep track of your writing ideas?

I have tons of journals and idea books. I carry one with me at all times (my idea journal).

That’s a good habit. How long did it take you to write The Adventures of Tomato and Pea?

My uncle, Dave, gave me the inspiration – actually he challenged me, to write a whole story. I kept telling him bits and pieces of different stories and he wanted me to write a whole one down. That’s why I wrote Tomato and Pea.

It took me about one year to write, and another to edit. About 6 months were spent looking for agents and publishers.

Did you write a little of yourself into any of the characters? 

I wrote some of the things I love to do into all of the characters. I like to cook (Skew), spout random facts (Poppy Lobster), I am good with tech-y things (Pea), and I like to lead (Tomato). I also like to laugh in a maniacal way (Wintergreen). MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Why did you decide to publish your book in the non-traditional way?

Well I tried to get an agent and that didn’t work. I couldn’t even get a rejection letter. Then I tried sending my MS directly to publishers and I finally got what I wanted – my first rejection letter! It started off “Dear Author” – and I thought, “Hey! That’s me! Author!”

So, I figured that either no one was going to take an 11-year-old seriously or maybe my MS really wasn’t that great or there are so many other awesome books out there that I’d never get anyone to look at it. So I figured I’d try to self-publish it. I’m happy I did. I got some people to read it and mostly everyone who reads it likes it. That makes me happy.

It is a great start, Erik. What do you most enjoy about writing?

The freedom. The notebooks. The pens (have you seen how many different types there are?). The fact that I get my ideas down (I have a lot of ideas, and they all get cluttered). I like that I get to write out my thoughts and feelings and write a story no one has thought of.

I have lots of pens, too. What other interests do you have for a change from reading and writing?

I study 3 different martial arts (TaeKwon-Do (black belt), Karate (green belt), and Jujitsu (blue belt)). I also study 3 foreign languages (Latin, French and Russian). I like to cook and do things outdoors (like hike and camp). I also just started to train to run in 5ks. I like to run (makes sense, because I’m 5’7″ and wear men’s size 11 wide shoes, so I can cover a lot of ground. 🙂 ).

Impressive! How do you find time to write when you are busy with school and everything else in your life?

I write when I have the urge to do it. It seems like I can write (or type) things down faster when I get inspired to do it. I also work well if I put goals or deadlines on myself. If I didn’t do that I would just probably read all the time. 🙂

I also *barely* watch TV, and we don’t even have cable, actually we don’t have a TV hooked up at all right now. If I do watch “TV” it’s usually movies or old TV shows we stream on the computer. I don’t play video games that much either (2 hours a week, on average).

I try to keep organized. My mom helps me with that too.

I bet you keep your mom busy with that task. 😉 What are your writing goals?

To have 10 best-selling novels. To be world-wide famous. 😀

I expect you will do it, too! Do you have another book in the works? If so, can you share anything about that with our readers?

I am working on the next book in the Tomato and Pea series. To give you a hint, Wintergreen (the villain), is up to no good and is loose on EAR-TH (Earth). Tomato and the gang have to ask for help from some locals to get Wintergreen under control.

I am also working on several picture book drafts. One I wrote while taking Susanna Leonard Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic class and a couple of others that I am writing during Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 challenge.

I also have several novels I am working on (waiting for the inspiration to hit).

Good for you, you’re a novelist in the making! Finally, do you have any advice for hopefuls?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be able to take criticism. There are a lot of really nice people out there who really want to help you.

That is wise advice, Erik, thanks! And thank you for this wonderful interview. I wish you much success which I am sure you will achieve. 

Thank you Ms. Davidson for interviewing me! 🙂

Now, dear readers, how would you like to win a copy of Erik Weibel’s first book, The Adventures of Tomato and Pea, book 1: A Bad Idea? Erik’s mom has kindly offered to send a copy to one person who leaves a comment. Just tell us what most impressed you or helped you in this interview. One name will be drawn on Tuesday, March 11, at 6:00 PM EST.  I will contact the winner for a mailing address.

Be sure to check your email; you could be the one to win a copy of The Adventures of Tomato and Pea by Erik Weibel!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book review: Save The Lemmings – by Kai Strand

Save The Lemmings by Kai StrandBook: Save The Lemmings
Author: Kai Strand
Publisher: Featherweight Press
Date: August 10, 2012
Genre: MG (middle grade), contemporary fiction
Pages: 108, paperback
Price: $8.99
My rating: a wonderful book for today’s young readers
 
 

 I received this book from the author in exchange for my free and honest review.

I enjoyed this little book. First of all, it is just the right size for the young audience it targets, so is a rather short but good read. Secondly, the author worked her magic into creating believable characters of varying personalities to whom young readers can relate.

Save The Lemmings, by Kai Strand, delves into the interests and conflicts of a girl in her nearly-teen life. The star of her book is Natalie, a twelve-year-old in grade eight. She is smart, a young inventor, and not the trendiest dresser in school – but that doesn’t bother her. She is her own person,  a nice girl who is focused on doing well with her life.

With a few ideas from her three best friends, Natalie invents a handy little tool for communication and calls it the Texty-Talker. During her research she comes across an organization called Save the Lemmings and gets wrapped up in wanting to save the little suicidal animals. (Actually, as the author points out at the end of her book, some lemmings die during migration, but it is unintentional and a myth that they’re self-destructive.)

When her invention becomes a nationwide hit and Natalie is thrust into the public limelight ill-prepared, problems arise. There are those who are jealous and the bullying she occasionally experiences increases; she is set up for trouble and falls right into it. Rumours fly. With her reputation at stake, even her friends begin to doubt her, and  …  well … I’m not going to tell you anymore, except to say, this little book is very fitting for today’s young readers – with all the peer pressure that’s going on.

Warning: in a couple of conversations God’s name is ill-used, but even so – do let your children read Save The Lemmings. It is inspiring for those who want to move forward with their hopes and dreams and not give in to negative peer pressure.

You can visit Kai Strand at www.kaistrand.com

You can find Save the Lemmings listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂