The Mystery of Broken Spur Ranch by Barbara Bockman

A long-standing family quarrel leads two cousins on a treasure hunting adventure in The Mystery of Broken Spur Ranch by Barbara Bockman.

After the death of his grandfather, James and his parents fly from India to the family ranch for the reading of his will. Fifteen years ago, differences between James’s father, Gerald, and his Uncle Lawrence over the running of the ranch divided the brothers, and Gerald left to create a new life outside of the States. The family’s return to Broken Spur Ranch shows the brothers’ stubbornness remains alive and well.

Before his death, Grandfather Hanover devised a plan to reunite his sons with the help of their children. James and his cousin, Thomas, must work together to solve grandfather’s riddle and save the ranch … and their families.

I loved everything about this story. It brings together two boys brought up in different parts of the world who must work together despite their cultural differences. The boys are tasked with a tall order considering James knows nothing about ranch life and doesn’t even ride. Thomas seems to have the advantage, but he still must learn to lean on James’s abilities if he wants to solve the riddle. The hardest part: can the two boys find a way to end the long-standing disagreement between their fathers and save the ranch? The stakes don’t get much higher than that.

The Mystery of Broken Spur Ranch has a fun cast of characters, an interesting plot, and a great ending. The story moves along at a good pace, and the mystery keeps the reader moving forward. This is not the first book I’ve read from Bockman. I certainly hope it won’t be my last. She knows how to tell a story that engages young readers.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 114 pages
Publisher: Independently published (August 9, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1079783563
ISBN-13: 978-1079783568

I received a digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

A Curse of Mayhem by Sunayna Prasad

Alyssa McCarthy thought she left magic behind for good. But, she was wrong. When her uncontrolled powers are unleashed on her hometown, her school, and her friends, Alyssa must boost her bravery and confidence to defeat Errol’s evil plan.

Published as Wizardry Goes Wild in 2016 and The Unruly Curse in 2019, A Curse of Mayhem by Sunayna Prasad continues the adventures of thirteen-year-old Alyssa after her return from Fiji. Now cared for by her godfather Alex, Alyssa lives the life of a normal teenager. She has a great group of friends and has a crush on a classmate. Alex and Alyssa have a good relationship now that Uncle Bruce is out of the picture. Normal flies out the window, however, as soon as Alyssa discovers her powers have returned with a vengeance and she can’t control when or how they will be unleashed. Her life now turned upside down, she learns with the help of her magical friend Simon about the curse Eerol placed on her and how she must boost her bravery and confidence if she ever hopes to defeat him.

The second book of the Magical Missions series opens with a startling revelation. This swift-moving plot encourages the reader to turn the pages. Filled with magic, chaos, and a bit of humor, A Curse of Mayhem is an exciting story with a protagonist middle-grade and teen readers will relate well to.  The underlying message of increasing your bravery and confidence is nicely woven in.

This reader found challenges with the choppy dialogue and how totally unsympathetic the adults acted. A top-notch editor could help shape this story in those areas and perhaps break up the enormous amount of dialogue with some narration and description; though when the author creates descriptions she does a fantastic job of it. It is my sincere hope we see a continuation of Alyssa’s adventures in a new story soon.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

File Size: 2839 KB
Print Length: 173 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: S.A. Prasad Publishing (July 15, 2019)
Publication Date: July 15, 2019
Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B07SGLLF8W

I received a 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.

My TBR Pile

 

Two cousins embark on an exciting mystery to solve the riddle of their grandfather’s will. The boys from diverse backgrounds must work together to overcome natural and cultural obstacles. Can they save the ranch in time?

History, like magic, has a habit of repeating itself

It’s been six months since thirteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy left magic behind for good. Or so she thought…

Then the enchanted objects that protected her disappear. Now a skeleton named Errol has cursed her with magical powers that keep getting her in trouble. Suddenly strange things are happening with disastrous effects, and if Alyssa can’t remove the magic, she will lose everything she holds dear.

In order to get rid of her unwanted wizardry, Alyssa will have to boost her bravery and confidence and determine who Errol really is. But every time Alyssa uses an enchantment, Errol is one step closer to getting his flesh back and becoming alive, and he will do anything to achieve his goals…even if it means destroying Alyssa’s happiness.

Originally published in 2016 as “Wizardry Goes Wild” and “The Unruly Curse” in 2019, “A Curse of Mayhem” is book two in the exciting and suspenseful “Magical Missions” series.

 

This exciting entry in Lee & Low’s “Story of” line of chapter-book biographies introduces readers to Robert Smalls, an enslaved steamboat wheelman who commandeered a Confederate boat during the Civil War and escaped with his family, crew, and their families to freedom.

Growing up enslaved in South Carolina, Robert Smalls always dreamed of the moment freedom would be within his grasp. Now that moment was here.

Robert stood proudly at the Planter’s wheel. Only seven miles of water lay between the ship and the chance of freedom in Union territory. With precision and amazing courage, he navigated past the Confederate forts in the harbor and steered the ship toward the safety of the Union fleet. Just one miscalculation would be deadly, but for Robert, his family, and his crewmates, the risk was worth taking.

The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls is the compelling account of the daring escape of Robert Smalls, an enslaved steamboat wheelman who became one of the Civil War’s greatest heroes. His steadfast courage in the face of adversity is an inspiring model for all who attempt to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.

This Chapter Book edition includes black-and-white illustrations as well as sidebars on related subjects, a timeline, a glossary, and recommended reading.

What is in your TBR pile right now?

 

Britfield & the Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart

In Britfield & the Lost Crown, C.R. Stewart invites readers into a fantastic adventure of a daring escape that winds up uncovering secrets no one could imagine.

Having spent most of his life locked behind the cruel walls of Weatherly Orphanage, Tom is excited to learn his parents may be alive. Armed with only one clue, Tom plans a daring escape with his friend Sarah that will put them in more danger than they could ever have anticipated. They travel from town to town in search of answers with many people hot on their trail determined to make sure Tom never learns the truth.

Wow! What a great way to start a series. With the help of his friends, Tom and Sarah wind up on a journey where they don’t know who is friend or foe while on the run from a multitude of people. Stewart is wise to create sympathetic characters from the start. With a well-rounded cast of good guys and bad guys, this phenomenal adventure engages the reader from beginning to end.

While the editor in me would like to see less passive voice, it didn’t detract much from the story. I’m also not a personal fan of third person omniscient point of view, but that didn’t slow down my desire to keep turning the pages.

With a great ending that will lead nicely into the next book in the series, I am eager to see what is coming next!

 

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 6
Lexile Measure: 700 (What’s this?)
Series: Britfield (Book 1)
Paperback: 402 pages
Publisher: Devonfield Publishing LLC (August 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1732961212
ISBN-13: 978-1732961210

ORDER INFO:

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2FBPPgj

Google Play/Books → https://bit.ly/2uu2D63

Apple Books App → https://apple.co/2tM7ZJL

I received a free copy of 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.

 

Josie by Susan Lowe and Diane Iverson

An incredible based on real life story of faith and survival is what you’ll find in Josie by Susan Lowe and Diane Iverson.

Everyone breathes a sigh of relief once Hitler is defeated. But, for young Josie Trollmann and her older brother, Andreas, the horrors are just beginning. When the communist leader of Yugoslavia attempts to wipe out the ethnic Germans, four-year-old Josie and twelve-year-old Andreas are separated from their family and sent to a concentration camp. Then Josie finds herself at the death camp, Rudolfsnad. Scared and alone, she must keep praying for her survival and to be reunited with her family again.

Wow! Every once in a while a story touches your heart and you know you won’t soon forget it. Josie is that story. This amazing little girl endures so much on her journey. To think of a four-year-old girl being ripped away from her parents and grandparents and then finding herself alone in a death camp, it makes my eyes well up. Each time you think things will be okay, that safety and security Josie grasps for only moments is ripped away from her. Yet, she prays and prays and focuses on her survival and her desire to see her family again. Through mistreatment and undernourishment and illness, Josie prays for God to get home safely.

This inspiring story is written by Josie’s daughter and niece. What a touching tribute to a person I am so glad I got a chance to meet through the pages of this story. The Epilogue provides additional information about Josie and her family, which draws the reader even closer to them.

 

Josie by Susan Lowe and Diane Iverson is a must read for history lovers and those who enjoy incredible stories of faith and courage.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

File Size: 1260 KB
Print Length: 137 pages
Publisher: Susan Lowe; 1 edition (December 20, 2015)
Publication Date: December 20, 2015
Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B019MEN4SE

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