Book Review: Escape Through The Wilderness by Gary Rodriguez

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Action, adventure and friendship fill the pages of this debut young adult offering by Gary Rodriguez.

Escape Through The Wilderness finds Savannah (Savi) Evans, Jade Chang, Rico Cruz, and Conner Swift in peril when a white-water rafting adventure at Camp Arrowhead separates them from their guide. When they finally pull themselves out of the water, the bruised, beaten, and lost teens must traverse twenty-five miles of wilderness to make it back to camp; complicated by the threat of Vexel, a vicious animal that Savi believes is stalking them.

This is one of those books that I could easily see as a movie. Action and adventure fill its pages, while the difficulty of four diverse teens trying to work together to get back to safety provides plenty of conflict. And let’s not forget about Vexel, whose pursuit of the teens as they traverse unfamiliar territory adds suspense.

Though not new to publishing, Rodriguez is new to the YA market. It seems a natural fit for him. His character development and plot will attract many. It would be great if he could find some way to turn this into a series: either keeping the same four teens and using their summer vacations to set them up for additional adventures, or using Camp Arrowhead as the place for new adventures by a different group of teens.

I would definitely recommend Escape Through The Wilderness if you like adventure, action, suspense, and stories surrounding legends.

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

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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.

 

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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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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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Ella’s Toys by Karen Kilpatrick

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Ella’s Toys 
by Karen Kilpatrick is another wonderful book in the Pumpkinheads series. Ella refuses to share her toys, but when she discovers her friends are having fun without her, she decides sharing might be more fun.

This is the second book in the Pumpkinheads series that I’ve read. I’m truly enjoying them. An easy to read book, Ella’s Toys reminds youngsters how much more fun it is to share than to hoard your toys and keep them only for yourself. The vibrant colors and bolded words will catch your child’s eye, but it will be how this book touches the heart that you’ll remember. I can’t wait to read more in this series.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Series: Pumpkinheads
Paperback: 20 pages
Publisher: Nina Charles (May 18, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 193844700X
ISBN-13: 978-1938447006

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

 

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Danza’s Message by Karen Kilpatrick

Danzas-Message-21-267x300Danza’s Message by Karen Kilpatrick will remind your youngster how truly special she is. After imaginative play, Danza and her friends goof around in front of the mirror and remember how special they are. At the end of the book each of the girls from the Pumpkinheads series answers the question: What do you like about you?

In this short and sweet book, girls are reminded of the importance of appreciating who you are inside and out. This rhyming story is fun and whimsical, but it holds one of the greatest lessons that can be imparted on a child. Artists Matthew Wilson and Tara Louise Campbell use vibrant colors to bring Kilpatrick’s story to life. The size of the book and the glossy, stiff paper will make the book stand out on the bookshelf. It won’t remind on the shelf long, though, because your child will want to read it again and again. Danza’s Message is just one book in the fabulous Pumpkinheads series. I recommend you check out all of them. Look for our review of Ella’s Toys tomorrow.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

 

Series: Pumpkinheads
Paperback: 22 pages
Publisher: Nina Charles LLC (September 18, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1938447026
ISBN-13: 978-1938447020

I received a 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.

 

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The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf by Caldric Blackwell

The-Boy-Who-Couldnt-Cry-Wolf-2-300x300A touching story with a powerful message is what you’ll discover in The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf by Caldric Blackwell.

Byron is a young werewolf who can’t howl. No matter what he tries or whose advice he follows, he simply can’t howl. On the night of the full-moon ceremony, Byron learns a valuable lesson about believing in himself.

This is a great book. Imaginative and engaging, young readers will enjoy learning more about the werewolf who can’t howl. It teaches children about the importance of believing in yourself no matter what and to not let yourself get so concerned with what others think about you.

The charming illustrations by Emma Phillips are the perfect complement to this story. She captures many emotions with them.

I look forward to sharing this book with some of the neighborhood children.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Icasm Press (November 20, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1942318006
ISBN-13: 978-1942318002

  • The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

I received a 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.

K-9 Cop by Erna Mueller

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Put together a sarcastic, arrogant cop and an angry, computer savvy teenager and you get a good idea of what you’re in store for in K-9 Cop: Case #1 – The Dreck Report.

While on a stakeout, a police detective named Spencer Watley meets Justin Andrews, who is often in trouble with Principal Hammersmith. When Spencer is killed in the line of duty, he comes back to life as a dog and is sent to help out Justin’s family. Meanwhile, a group of cyber-killers are on the search for our detective turned pooch because he’s accidentally swallowed a microchip that will allow them to hack into computers and steal millions. While Spencer and Justin continue to butt heads, the Cyber Killers close in, kidnapping them. How will Spencer get them out this mess?

While I found the opening chapters a bit confusing, K-9 Cop is a funny, adventure-filled mystery for tweens and young adults. Spencer’s interactions will leave them in stitches. His comeuppance of returning as a dog and needing to earn entry into heaven will intrigue them. And the touching ending will warm everyone’s heart. Justin has a difficult story all his own, so to see Spencer and Justin connect on any level is rewarding. Though not what one might consider as your typical tween/young adult read, the content and some of the banter definitely places it into this market. I would say you’re looking at 14 and up for this one.

K-9 Cop is a fast-paced story with engaging characters that many will enjoy.

Rating: :) :) :) :)

File Size: 391 KB
Print Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Erna Mueller; 2 edition (September 18, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B009D6WZVY

I received a free digital version 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.

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