Coming Soon from Chronicle Books!

Here are three titles I received this week. They are coming in April and May from Chronicle Books.

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When Bryce Billings says he will clobber Fish Finelli in the Captain Kidd Classic boat race, Fish has no choice but to accept the bet. But Fish’s 1970s Whaler with a broken motor is no match for Bryce’s new, top-of-the-line, 9.9-horsepower Viper—even if Fish, Roger, and T. J. can fix their measly 5-horsepower motor, it can’t compete with Bryce’s boat. With $9.63 between them, do the guys even have a chance at the Classic? A hilarious romp, filled with fun facts seamlessly integrated into the story, Fish Finelli informs as much as it entertains for perfect middle-grade reading.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Series: Fish Finelli
Hardcover: 172 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1452110832
ISBN-13: 978-1452110837

Armani Curtis can think about only one thing: her tenth birthday. All her friends are coming to her party, her mama is making a big cake, and she has a good feeling about a certain9781452124568_upside-down-in-the-middle-of-nowhere_large wrapped box. Turning ten is a big deal to Armani. It means she’s older, wiser, more responsible. But when Hurricane Katrina hits the Lower Nines of New Orleans, Armani realizes that being ten means being brave, watching loved ones die, and mustering all her strength to help her family weather the storm. A powerful story of courage and survival, Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere celebrates the miraculous power of hope and love in the face of the unthinkable.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 8, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1452124566
ISBN-13: 978-1452124568

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As befits a future President of the United States of America, Maggie Mayfield has decided to write a memoir of the past year of her life. And what a banner year it’s been! During this period she’s Student of the Month on a regular basis, an official shareholder of Coca-Cola stock, and defending Science Fair champion. Most importantly, though, this is the year Maggie has to pull up her bootstraps (the family motto) and finally learn why her cool-dude dad is in a wheelchair, no matter how scary that is. Author Megan Jean Sovern, herself the daughter of a dad with multiple sclerosis, writes with the funny grace and assured prose of a new literary star.

A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this book will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books (May 6, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1452110212
ISBN-13: 978-1452110219

The Bifrost Bridge by James Bradley Clarke $25 Book Blast

About the Book

The Bifrost Bridge by James ClarkTitle: The Bifrost Bridge | Author: James Bradley Clarke | Illustrator: Marcus Gran | Publication Date: January, 2013 | Publisher: Wynwidyn Press | Pages: 92 | Recommended Ages: 8+

Summary: The Bifrost Bridge is a Viking princess fairy tale intertwined with Norse mythology. Silya, the feisty ten year old Princess of Norway, eagerly awaits the arrival of her cousin and best friend, Princess Hedda of Denmark. The princesses are both looking forward to the summer solstice celebration, but trouble lurks in their future as magical villains see the girls as being vital for their deadly conspiracy. Hedda and Silya find themselves cast into a dangerous adventure filled with fire giants, female warrior angels and the God of Thunder.

Purchase

Amazon | Wynwidyn Press Books

The Buzz

“A delightful and endearing adventure that winds Norse mythology and two young girls through a whirlwind of danger, friendship and standing up to evil-doers. The Princess heroines, Silya and Hedda, engage the reader with their charming day to day life at the celebrated summer solstice festival in ancient Norway… The book moves along easily and the characters are likable at once. A fun read for the parents, and challenging enough for the children because it may have a few new words and characters they may not know. It is an adorable story that will soon become a favorite.” ~ 5 Star Review, Janet, Amazon

“Bifrost Bridge is a beautiful fairytale, mixing legend and adventure and creating a wonderful reading experience for both children and adults alike. I read this to my 7 year old daughter, and my 10 year old daughter read it for herself; both of them were captivated by the story. My 7 year old loved the idea of two princesses being such close friends, and my 10 year old loved all of the action and suspense in the story. I enjoyed the Norse mythology woven into the tale. It’s a wonderful family story. I will be reading it to my sons next!” ~ 5 Star Review, Rebecca F., Amazon

“When I first looked into this book, I was sure that the world of fairy tales had been overdone so many times that I wouldn’t see much difference between this one & my other classic favorites that I enjoyed over the years with my children… However, I was proven wrong.. This is such a beautiful and entrancing fairy tale! Mr. Clarke takes the often repetitive world of fairy tales and adds an elegant, dramatic twist to it, producing an epic and moving adventure that children will forever cherish! My daughter and I read it together and had many nights where we just didn’t want to put it down! His characters, including the feisty Silya, are memorable and seem so very real! It’s a hard thing to do that with children’s fairy tales and again, I commend Mr. Clarke for releasing a wonderful new fairy tale to pass on to generations to come!” ~ 5 Star Review, Vicky R., Amazon

About the Author: James Bradley Clarke

James Bradley Clarke

James Bradley Clarke

James Bradley Clarke is a graduate of Hiram College, The University of Houston, and the University of Michigan. He currently resides in Oxford, Ohio, where he works as an academic librarian for Miami University. He grew up near Ann Arbor, Michigan, and he has spent most of his life in the Great Lakes region.

The Bifrost Bridge is Clarke’s first work of fiction. The children’s book was first developed as stories Clarke started telling to his two daughters back in the summer of 2003. Both girls shared a love for classic princess fairy tales, so he invented original princess characters for both of them. As residents in Riverside, Illinois, Clarke’s family lived in walking distance of the Brookfield Zoo where the girls regularly admired the Norwegian fjord horses. When he learned this ancient breed of horse was used by the Vikings, a specific medieval setting for the stories came into focus.

As a Hiram College student, Clarke had developed a love for the epic poems of Homer and Virgil, so he chose to borrow from mythology to provide magical elements. The girls became instantly enamored with these stories and they insisted on developing new adventures for the two Nordic princess characters. The first draft of a manuscript was produced during the summer of 2005. Clarke’s daughters were delighted with the bound copy they received as a Christmas gift later that year, so he began the process of becoming an author. Clarke has a love for history and a taste for plot driven stories about extraordinary individualism. Themes of fortitude and self-determination lay at the heart of Clarke’s writing interests.

Facebook (Book Fan Page) | Facebook (Author Fan Page) | Goodreads

* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest runs: February 10 to March 9, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, James Bradley Clarke and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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The Maisy Files: Maisy and the Missing Mice by Elizabeth Woodrum

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Young mystery lovers will want to read this imaginative and funny story about a fourth grader with a special skill for solving mysteries.

Maisy and the Missing Mice by Elizabeth Woodrum is the first book in The Maisy Files series. It features Maisy, a fourth grader who loves black and white mystery movies, cherry lollipops, and her dog, Reesie. She also has a knack for solving mysteries. In Maisy and the Missing Mice, Maisy must follow the clues to discover who stole the school’s mascots and the stash of cherry lollipops she keeps in her locker.

This is the best book. I loved everything about it: the way Maisy was introduced, how the case unfolded, the way Maisy is admired by her peers and the staff of the school for her mystery-solving skills, and how everything turns gray when she’s working a case and then returns to normal colors once she’s solved the mystery. The ending of the book also hints at what the next book in this series will be about, similar to how Sam from the show Quantum Leap would leap into the next time period as soon as he fixed what was wrong; giving viewers a glimpse at what would come next.

Woodrum shows off her skills as an educator by being in tune with what kids will enjoy. With Maisy and the Missing Mice she has created an easy and fun to read story for your young mystery lover. Though the detective is a girl, there are several male characters whose actions will capture the attention of boys, and they’ll delight in figuring out the mystery right along with Maisy.

Highly recommended!

Series: The Maisy Files
Paperback: 74 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (October 14, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1492922056
ISBN-13: 978-1492922056

BUY THE BOOK AT AMAZONElizabeth Woodrum

Discuss this book at the PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads by clicking HERE.

Elizabeth Woodrum is a full time elementary teacher. Originally from Indiana, Elizabeth currently resides near Dayton, Ohio with her two pets: a cat named Butterscotch and a dog named Reese Cup. 

You can view more about Elizabeth Woodrum at www.elizabethwoodrum.com

 

I received a copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

 

Maisy and the Missing Mice banner 7

 

Guest Book Review: Princess Madeline and the Dragon by Kirstin Pulioff

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Book Review: Princess Madeline and the Dragon by Kirstin Pulioff
Series: Princess Madeline Series
Paperback: 118 pages
Publisher: Caliburn Books (December 10, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1623750709
ISBN-13: 978-1623750701
Genre: Fantasy/magic/adventure
Ages: 10+

Five Stars

All is well in the Kingdom of Soron; at least, that’s what everyone thinks. The village has been rebuilt since Prince Paulsen’s disastrous attack the previous autumn, and preparations are underway for the Spring Faire – a very important occasion. Princess Madeline is also preparing for her upcoming wedding to Daniel, and the prospect of establishing a new home in the North. The wizards, now welcomed back after their timely assistance during the previous troubles, have a new role to play. Madeline has been having strange dreams, and the Elder Wizard, in fact her Uncle Elias, is trying to teach her to harness her magical powers, inherited from her mother. Then things turn horribly upside-down, as we have been warned via the prologue, where Lord Hawthorne (hunting for dragons’ eggs) stumbles upon a rare clutch of these magical eggs. Amazingly, a green dragon appears and begins to ravage the kingdom. The fiery attack ends with King Theodore being badly burned to the point where he insists on Madeline’s marriage to Daniel right away; and he appoints Madeline’s twin brother Braden as King of Soron. The dragon is fast becoming a huge and dangerous problem. Will Madeline and Braden be able to decipher the clues left by their mother that spoke of the Age of Dragons? And why is the dragon suddenly attacking the kingdom?

Kirstin Pulioff has cleverly sown the clues to the final book in the first and second books, where seemingly innocuous items hold the key to solving the mystery of the green dragon. Braden, somewhat neglected in books one and two, comes into his own and pulls the readers’ focus as he takes charge of the kingdom, and finds the path of love not as smooth as he had hoped. Madeline has really grown up here, and her thoughts on resolving the kingdom’s dilemma differ greatly from her brother’s. Her way is based on love, reason, reconciliation, and truth. The wizard Elias also has a lot to teach both the characters and young readers and his words of wisdom are beautifully woven into this rich fantasy tapestry. Again the author’s gift for description stands her in good stead as the dragon, in all its flaming fury, is brought vividly to life in the pages of this magical fairy tale. Princess Madeline and the Dragon is well worth the wait as there is something for everyone: romance, love, enchantment, magicality, wizards, action, adventure, and of course … here be dragons!

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Guest Book Review: The Battle for Princess Madeleine by Kirstin Pulioff

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Book Review: The Battle for Princess Madeline
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 21, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1482790085
Genre: Fantasy/magic/adventure
Age: 12+
Five Stars

In book two of the Princess Madeline series we’re back in the Kingdom of Soron, in the midst of the Fall Festival. Apart from the fun and activity of this festive event, there is a special significance: Princess Madeline’s betrothal to her Champion Knight Daniel, who saved her during her previous escapade. Princess Madeline is starting to grow up as well, and apart from making her tutor’s life a misery with her questions, is taking a great interest in the kinds of things necessary for running a kingdom and being responsible for people. It seems that nothing will spoil this idyllic time, except the reappearance of the sly Prince Paulsen, making outrageous demands on King Theodore. Paulsen demands Madeline’s hand in marriage and when the king reminds the prince that although he rid the country of brigands, he did not actually save the princess himself, this leads to terrible events. War ensues, and at the same time Madeline must decide how she can help save the kingdom. The banished wizards risk the wrath of the king by appearing, with messages, clues, and advice. While Theodore and Daniel face Paulsen’s ravaging troops, Madeline makes her own decisions.

Kudos to author Kirstin Pulioff for introducing more entrancing back story regarding magical choices that Madeline and her twin brother made without knowing it. Fragments of their mother’s story come through, adding to the wizards’ role in this book, and indeed in the prehistory of Soron. I loved the element of magic and mystery that the wizards bring, with suggestions of building onto forthcoming events, when the Age of Dragons looms over Soron. Madeline develops a sense of maturity about life, and her relationship with Daniel. She also uses her wits and embarks upon a daring plan, so courage is part of her nature. The battle scenes and the grim results of Paulsen’s invasion are brought to life by the author’s gift for description. In fact, description is part of what makes the series so appealing. One can hear the clash of swords, the shouts of the soldiers or (on a more peaceful note) almost rub shoulders with Madeline as she gazes at a beautiful view. There is much to entice young readers in this tale of the Princess: action, adventure, a charming romance, magic, and of course, the promise of dragons to come. I am looking forward to book three.

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Guest Book Review: The Escape of Princess Madeline by Kirstin Pulioff

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Book Review: The Escape of Princess Madeline
Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Malachite Quills Publishing (November 28, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-1623750367
Genre: Fantasy/magic/adventure
Age: 12+

4 stars

Princess Madeline lives in the fairy tale kingdom of Soron, with a loving father and twin brother, Braden, a castle of servants at her beck and call, a charmed and pampered existence … and yet, she is not happy. For one thing, her father King Theodore has decided that at the ball to celebrate her sixteenth birthday, a suitor will be chosen for her. This indignity totally offends Madeline who is quite capable of making her own decisions. She wants freedom, independence, the ability to make her own choices, and—very importantly—to choose her future husband for herself. The only thing to do is run away; desperate measures for sure, but a drastic situation calls for an equally drastic response. Her disappearance throws the castle and indeed the whole kingdom into total turmoil, with Knight Daniel, her champion and protector, setting off to find her. Various princely suitors (mostly unsuitable!), but eager to court favour with the king, also set off on their own missions to retrieve the princess. Madeline, however brave she feels inside, is completely unprepared for life in the real world. Her inexperience and ignorance land her in the clutches of brigands. Daniel, meanwhile, has done the unforgivable; he has approached the wizards, now banished from the kingdom, for their help. Will he find Madeleine in time? Have the wizards betrayed him? And why is the creepy Prince Paulsen so interested in saving Madeleine?

This is a traditional fairy tale with a realistic twist. The princess does start out as a bit spoiled, but a few nights on her own, braving brigands and an inhospitable environment soon shake her up. Parents reading this will smile at the part where Madeline deeply regrets giving up what she had for what she thought she wanted: isn’t that what life is all about? This is a life lesson in a dynamic package as she comes to terms with her own selfish desires versus what her responsibilities as future princess would be. She also realises how much pain she has caused those who love her. The author’s strength lies in wonderful, rich descriptions that entice all the readers’ senses. From the opulence of the palace, to the terrors of the forest, to the magicality and enchantment of the wizard realm, the readers will experience it first-hand. Although the story seems simple, there is a strong back history that no doubt comes into play with the subsequent books. There is also a strong hint that certain people are not who they appear to be. I would have liked a more detailed back history, instead of a prologue to create Soron’s past and delve deeper into King Theodore’s painful memories. I hope this is developed more in the following books. Charming, and with enough fairy tale elements to satisfy young readers, this book sets a nice beginning for the Princess Madeleine Trilogy by Kirstin Pulioff.

 

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Guest Book Review: Tortoise Soup by Nick Holland

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Book Review: Tortoise Soup by Nick Holland
Print Length: 234 pages
Publisher: Kimono Press (December 8, 2013)
ASIN: B00C89CK9U
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Ages: 8+

Five Stars

Ruby Tinker is an orphan at St. Therese’s Children’s home in England. She has lived there since a terrible car accident that robbed her of her parents and the full use of her legs. But Ruby is not quite alone in the world. She has a beloved companion, tortoise extraordinaire (to say the least) Byron Tinker. No ordinary reptile, Byron can read (albeit slowly), run fast (for a tortoise), he can climb, make up poems, and he loves Ruby with all his heart and soul. Although neither Ruby nor Byron can imagine life without the other, dark and dreadful plans are afoot courtesy of the grim-faced, cold-hearted Miss Scratbakk, owner of the children’s home. Her plans for creating untold wealth depend upon Byron Tinker’s demise. However, a malevolent Fate seems to be assisting her ghastly plot when Ruby’s Uncle Peter informs her he is giving up his career as a globe-trotting diplomat and will be settling in Scotland, and creating a home for his niece. One thing is certain: Uncle Peter will not have pets in the house and Byron is not coming with. To Ruby’s horror, Uncle Peter’s driver collects her for the long drive to Scotland, and Byron is left behind. Before Miss Scratbakk can plonk Byron in a pot of soup (as was her plan), Bryon manages to escape. Will Byron survive the numerous adventures and dangers that face him? Will Miss Scratbakk succeed in her evil plans for the children at the home? Will Byron and Ruby be reunited?

Byron’s escapades are numerous, but this intrepid tortoise takes it all in his stride. His enduring love for Ruby keeps him plodding onward. He meets some kind creatures (the snakes in the pet shop and the wild crane), some helpful people (Miss Tigerlily and the bin men), and even comes close to the Rainbow Bridge, where all animals wait for their owners to cross over with them. But it’s not time for Byron to cross over; he still has lots of life and fun ahead of him with Ruby. This book is about love, friendship, hope, faith, sharing and caring, and belief in a better tomorrow. Kids will quickly absorb these important life lessons, couched as they are in this enchanting story of bravery and adventure. Author Nick Holland (no doubt with Bryon’s valuable input) has created a tale where the wicked are hilariously evil; the various characters have a quirky charm; the animals stand tall, and there is such a brightness that overcomes any doom or gloom as all loose ends are neatly tied up. There is poetry, songs, and many delightful details to put smiles on the faces of readers of all ages. You also learn quite a lot about tortoises, how to care for them, and what they like to eat. PS: They don’t like corned beef-and-mustard sandwiches.

 

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Tommy’s Amigo by Nancy Carty Lepri

Tommys Amigo cover (eBook)

Even though Tommy Hernandez wins the state spelling-bee contest, he feels isolated and sad. His classmates either ignore or bully him. His only two friends are girls, more reason to be teased. Being Mexican and living with his grandmother because his father is in jail adds to the taunting.

Things get worse when Tommy takes the lead at the school’s Christmas pageant and one of his classmates plays a humiliating prank on him. Also, his grandmother needs an operation, meaning he may go to foster care for he cannot be left alone.

Fear, sadness and anger drive Tommy to do the unthinkable, and he endures a frightening night in the woods. Will Tommy ever find the acceptance and confidence he so desperately seeks?

Excerpt:

About to wrap up his presentation, a noise above Tommy caught his attention.

Crack!

His eyes widened, and his mouth fell open. A bucket tumbled toward him. He tried to scramble out of the way, but he wasn’t quick enough.
The splash came right before the bucket bounced off his shoulder. White liquid dripped from his hair and onto his robe. Tommy lifted his wet sleeve to his nose. “Eweeee…milk. And it smells sour.”

A few of the children screamed, and chaos exploded on stage. Some huddled together whispering.

Macy peered up. Beth and an older boy were in the rafters laughing.

Macy grabbed Tommy’s arm and pointed toward the ceiling. “Look!”
Tommy wiped the milk out of his eyes and glanced up. “W…what’s up there?”

“You didn’t see her?” Macy gasped.

“Who?”

“Beth!”

The auditorium became silent.

Tommy gazed at the children on the stage then shook the milk off his wet robe. “I knew it. I told you Beth would do something.”

Links to purchase eBook of Tommy’s Amigo

http://www.amazon.com/Tommys-Amigo-Nancy-Carty-Lepri-ebook/dp/B00HK9UKXG/ 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tommys-amigo-nancy-carty-lepri/1117897877

North Carolina transplant, Nancy Carty Lepri was born and raised in Massachusetts, but also lived in Florida and Louisiana. Nancy earned an AA degree in Visual Art from Cape Nancy pic for bookCod Community College and a BA in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in writing from Western New England College. In addition, she holds an editor certification from Cape Fear Community College. Illustrator of several children’s books and freelance reporter for several local newspapers and magazines, her chapter book Tiny Angel was released in November 2009, and she has recently completed a sequel. Nancy and her husband Art have a grown daughter and a very spoiled feline. In her spare time, Nancy loves to read and knit.

Visit Nancy’s website at http://nancycl.webs.com. She is also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nancy.lepri and Twitter at https://twitter.com/NancyCLepri

Guest Book Review: The Yogi’s Curse (Zoe and Zak Series) by Lars Guignard

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The Yogi’s Curse by Lars Guignard
Print Length: 340 pages
Publisher: Fantastic Press (July 23, 2013)
ASIN: B00E4WFG2C
Genre: Juvenile fiction; Fantasy/magic; Action/adventure
Age: 10+

Five stars

Zoe and Zak are back in India again. And this time they’re attending Moonstock Himalayan Academy for Boys and Girls, which might seem fun except for the fact that the school itself is more than a little strange. This is no Hogwarts in the Himalayas, where with the wave of a wand one can conjure up delicious feasts and fun stuff. For one thing, the food is terrible, toilet paper must be purchased, the hot water is erratic, there’s no technology (like Internet) and the teachers are eccentric bordering on weird. Anyone who ever attended boarding school will remember how often reality diverged from the brochure. But attending the school might just be more important than the kids think; after all, Moonstock has the reputation for turning out achievers and those who go on to change the world in some way.

The crazy part of Moonstock becomes apparent when Zoe and Zak discover students ride elephants instead of school buses, snarling monkeys work as security guards, and vigilant (talking) parrots monitor the halls. But living with a bunch of other kids their age can be a lot of fun too, or at least it seems that way until Zoe’s roommate Anita goes missing. Following the directions written on a steamy bathroom mirror, Zoe and Zak fly off on their magic carpet to learn that they have been chosen yet again for an important mission. This time they’ve been asked to lift the Yogi’s Curse except that Zoe and Zak don’t even know what the Yogi’s Curse is, let alone how to lift it. But like it or not, they soon discover that a whole lot of people are depending on them. To make matters worse and just when they need all the extra help they can get, Zak’s whip Stryker (which turns into a two-headed cobra) and the magic carpet (masquerading as a humble Doormat to escape detection) are confiscated by the school owners as ‘prohibited items.’ The tension mounts as the kids are pursued by giant fire-winged birds with malicious intentions, a talking elephant informs them that elephants are on the brink of death unless the curse is lifted, and they have a formidable demon enemy to defeat. Can Zoe and Zak save the day?

I really enjoyed this read. For me, the second book has cemented the series and made a lovely springboard for Book 3. Zak and Zoe’s success in the first book created a domino effect of events that take them into this adventure. Back story keeps new readers attuned so both plots link up nicely. Zak really comes into his own here and takes the word ‘intrepid’ to new heights. He stares down Amanda Mean, the school bully; goes into partnership with another student running an informal tuck-shop (that stocks lots of decent toilet paper); starts a vlog; and has some really inventive ideas using whatever comes to hand (including a flying feather!). He may not have Zoe’s powers, but he makes some surprising decisions that work out just fine. Zoe stops being so self-pitying and starts to think about just why her mother chose Moonstock as a boarding school. The action is non-stop and plot twists and turns keep readers hanging onto their magic carpets as they fly along with our heroes. The magicality is wonderful, using legends and fantasy elements from Indian culture and mythology. There are no instant spells ‘imported’ into the story: all the enchantment belongs firmly in India, using cultural and folkloric aspects that will no doubt get young readers interested in reading up more about the background. I thought the constant reference to ghastly food making the students sick, and the chemistry teacher’s unfortunate tendency to flatulence a bit repetitive, but no doubt kids will just crack up laughing each time they read it, so this is a minor issue. Zoe narrates, as in Book 1, and the lovely dry humor in her comments will appeal to adults as well as kids. The ending wraps up nicely with both Zoe and Zak having grown and matured, and learned some important life lessons. I really am looking forward to reading Book 3.

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Cover Reveal: Star of the Team by Beverly Stowe McClure

star-of-team-cover----for-web

A girl.

A dream.

An accident.

A dream shattered.

Ten-year-old Kate Taylor dreams of being the star of her basketball team, Angels. When Kate’s tooth is knocked out at one of the games, and her mother, who is also her coach, says she can’t play until the tooth the dentist replants heals, Kate’s dreams are in jeopardy. Add Emily, the new girl at school who claims she’s the best, and Kate faces a challenge to prove that she is the star.

Will Kate succeed? Or will Emily ruin Kate’s plans?

Coming from 4RV Publishing in January!

Beverly Stowe McClure is the author of picture books, early readers, middle grade and teen novels. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, both national and North Texas. A fourth generation Texan, she lives in the country with two cats, and a variety of wild critters.

Links to purchase will be shared in January on the following sites:

 

I’ll keep you updated on my sites:

http://www.facebook.com/beverlysmcclure
https://twitter.com/beverlymcclure
http://goodreads.com/author/show/11462.Beverly_Stowe_McClure
http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com