First Chapter Review: Escape Through The Wilderness by Gary Rodriguez

 

1st Chapter Review TC&TBC

BLURB:  Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics’ accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, but didn’t stop her from attending an adventure camp in Idaho. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift taunts Savi because of her injury.

When the four are teamed together for an overnight white-water river rafting adventure, Savi refuses to get in the same raft with Conner. Unfortunately, the director will not reassign her.

A fun expedition down the river turns into a nightmare when their raft slams into a huge rock and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “last chance” marker and enter the larger rapids. With Jade pinned between the raft and a rock, and Rico clinging to a lifeline, Savi must cut the raft free.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who tries to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who Savi fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome adversity.

Escape Through the Wilderness coverCOVER: I find this cover fascinating. The author has toured with this book before. I loved it then. I love it now. The dark colors with the glowing yellow eyes make it a tiny bit creepy, but it is a stunning cover.

FIRST CHAPTER: Savannah Evans, also called Savi, makes quick friends with Jade at Camp Arrowhead. Savi’s run in with Connor Swift doesn’t go quite as smoothly.

KEEP READING: I am on Chapter 12, so I’ll let you be the judge. 🙂 The opening chapter mostly introduces the characters, but it also sets up the conflict that we will see later on. In addition, it actually opens with a news blurb about the disappearance of the four teens and then goes back in time two days to when they all met, so it’s a neat way to drop the reader right into the action, followed by a tiny bit of backstory. I look forward to more.

 

For More Information

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

 

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Coming in April: One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

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Something is not right with Nadia Cara. While spending a year in Florence, Italy, she’s become a thief. She has secrets. And when she tries to speak, the words seem far away. Nadia finds herself trapped by her own obsessions and following the trail of an elusive Italian boy whom only she has seen. Can Nadia be rescued or will she simply lose herself altogether? Set against the backdrop of a glimmering city, One Thing Stolen is an exploration of obsession, art, and a rare neurological disorder. It is a celebration of language, beauty, imagination, and the salvation of love.

5 5/8 x 8 1/8 in; 280 pp;
Hardcover
April 2015
ISBN 9781452128313

Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of books for both adults and young readers, includingGoing Over, You Are My Only, Small Damages, and Handling the Truth. She lives in Devon, Pennsylvania.

Guest Book Review: Rosabelle by Linda Harrington

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Print Length: 208 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ASIN: B00M1TIJKG
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, animal stories

Rating: 4 stars
Rosabelle by Linda Harrington is a delightful children’s book set in rural New Zealand, in the 1970s. The main focus of the story falls upon 11-year-old Jane Williams, and their father’s racehorse, the titular Rosabelle. When Jane’s father has a suspicious accident at the racing stables, he is unable to work for a good while; this wreaks havoc upon the family’s finances, as well as family relationships since Jim Williams is a proud man, not used to accepting help from people. Rosabelle is the family’s last hope because she is such a good racer. However, finances are so tight that Jim even considers selling Rosabelle to his so-called friend and associate, Don O’Leary. But things are going wrong all round with various farmers’ sheep being stolen from farms. When Jane overhears O’Leary making sinister remarks about her father and Rosabelle, she is on the alert to his motives. Sadly, no one believes her until disaster strikes again and more sheep go missing. With the help of her friend Marta, and with information helpfully supplied by her teacher, Mr. Dunkerton, and with surprising assistance from Rosabelle herself, Jane sets out to expose Don O’Leary and get back those sheep. But it’s not going to be as easy as she thought!

The story unfolds slowly, and this enables young readers to really get to know Jane, her family and her friends, and also to learn about Rosabelle. The pace of living several decades ago was very different as well, and the author has a delightful way of describing rural life, as well as deftly inserting interesting snippets of historical information to place readers in the ’70s context. Readers also learn more about Jane’s family history (which has an interesting outcome), and might be keen to dig into their own family backgrounds as a result. There is enough horse detail to satisfy equine fans, without overpowering readers not as familiar with saddle soap and stables! I enjoyed this book very much; the author painted the entire story with loving strokes, imbuing it with a whimsical charm that seeps right through each page, making the ambiance, the era, the characters and their lives come to life. I especially enjoyed Jane’s Scottish teacher, the eccentric Mr. Dunkerton, and his bagpipes. The author includes a front map and a back glossary of unfamiliar words and terms which young readers will also enjoy, enabling them to place the location of the story and to understand the colloquial words and terms. This book will appeal to young readers and those who enjoy family oriented stories.

 

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.

Green Gooey Goop by Anna C. Morrison

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Eating healthy just got a lot funnier with Green Gooey Goop by Anna C. Morrison.

In this rhyming story, a girl is served a different kind of meal by her mother who is sharing with her the importance of eating all those green fruits and vegetables. This green gooey goop is whirled up and served in a huge cup with hilarious results.

What a blast this book is. Morrison definitely knows what will relate well to children. I am pretty sure those healthy smoothies look like “green gooey goop” to most youngsters. With her zany creativity, the author is able to highlight all those healthy foods, while acknowledging how kids could feel when presented with such a concoction.

The artwork of Alexander Morris is perfect for Green Gooey Goop. The wavy lines, the wide-eyed expressive faces, and his vibrant mix of colors is the perfect complement to Morrison’s entertaining story.

Kids will eat this one up!

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 16 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc; large type edition edition (October 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616335432
ISBN-13: 978-1616335434

Anna C. Morrison is an author of children’s books, including Silly Moments and Green Gooey Goop, with many more to follow. She is also an adjunct professor for multiple colleges and universities, both face-to-face and online. While she instructs various levels of English composition, she also teaches classes on literature, film, feature writing, and technical writing, among others. In addition, she has worked with Adapt Courseware as a writing consultant on three video course projects, including college skills and composition. Anna received her MFA in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, and her BA in English, Creative Writing, from California State University, San Bernardino. Anna is an active member of SCBWI and is available for book signings. She lives in Southern California with her family and pets.

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

 

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From the Family Bookshelf – March 2015

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Can you believe I haven’t posted one of these updates since October? Whoops! As the girls have grown older, it’s become more of a challenge because I don’t always know what they are reading. In addition, my return to work has reduced my reading time when I had hoped last year and this one would see an increase in my reading.

I won’t bother trying to go through every book I have read since my last update, but here are some notables:

  • Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough, a middle grade biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder,
  • River Spirits by Marilyn Meredith, the latest in her Deputy Tempe Crabtree series,
  • Fearless Joe Dearborne by Lisa Whitney, a middle grade adventure novel,
  • The Seven Levels of Communication by Michael Maher, a business book,
  • Death of a Clown by Heather Haven, a murder mystery set during World War II,
  • The Search for the Stone of Excalibur by Fiona Ingram, the second book in her Chronicles of the Stone Series.

As for Dad, he has been reading some Vince Flynn novels. The Lil’ Diva is currently reading the second Harry Potter book–a series she said she would never read–and the Lil’ Princess is reading the latest Dork Diaries book.

Papou (Greek for grandfather) is currently reading Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly and Yia-Yia (Greek for grandmother) is polishing off another mystery novel–her favorite genre.

That’s it for now. Hope you have a great week.