The Amulet of Amon-Ra by Leslie Carmichael: Review and Giveaway

Today, I’m giving away fellow CBAY author, Leslie Carmichael’s midgrade fantasy, The Amulet of Amon-Ra  (CBAY, 2009). I actually read this awhile ago and it makes a  quick and pleasant read for the third through seventh grade set.

Summary: When Jennifer receives an ancient scarab with a hidden compartment, she travels through time and space to the era of the great female pharaoh, Hatsheput. She uncovers conspiracies and tomb robbers, but can she find her way home?

Genres: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Things to like about this book:   Egyptophiles will like this story. It includes a great deal of history and it could be included in a unit on ancient Egypt.

Audience:  Upper elementary,  MidGrade

Reviewed from: Paperback  provided by publisher.

I’ll be giving my copy away to one lucky person. Leave a comment on this post by October 24th and you’ll be included in my random drawing. If this is your first comment to my blog, the comment will not post until I approve it.

The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerilizzi – Review and GiveAway

For your consideration today is The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerilizzi (Simon & Schuster, 2010).  This post apocalyptic science fiction fantasy held my interest through the entire 468 pages. It is definitely a sophisticated step up for DiTerilizzi’s SpiderWick Chronicles fans.  Random tidbit: I could not get the Wizard of Oz out of my head as I read this story.

The story centers around Eva Nine, who is raised by her robot “muthr” in her own safe underground cocoon. Eva’s idyllic, if lonely and artificial, childhood comes to an end as she matures and begins to question the authority of her robot guardian. As it must be in a story like this, her world comes crashing down and she is thrust out into the harsh realities of life to fend for herself.  She is driven to search for another human by an old picture showing another girl, adult, robot, and the magical word “Wondla”.  Her struggle for survival and search for identity make for a good story. Wild imagination gives birth to some memorable creatures in this story – which has been marketed with an interactive component online at The artwork goes a long way in helping to visualize the story. (more…)

Dry Souls by Denise Getson – Review and Giveaway

Long overdue, I’m posting my review of fellow CBAY author Denise Getson’s debut midgrade Dry Souls. I met Denise at the TLA Conference in late April and I thoroughly enjoyed her novel. As a fan of dystopia, I found her future world where the lack of usable water resources creates a society in crisis is well written and very believable. It is somewhat gentler than the YA dystopias of the last few years – which I think middle school parents, librarians, and teachers will appreciate.

The heroine, Kira, is a lonely orphan who discovers she can call water forth from the earth. The book follows her as she sets out to discover her past and how she might be able to use this skill to help her dying world. But it wouldn’t be a dystopian novel if the powers that be left Kira alone to save the planet. As she journeys through her own self discovery, she learns how to be a friend and whom not to trust. Well done, Denise. I’m hoping the sequel is on the editor’s desk!

I’ll be giving my copy away to one lucky person. Leave a comment on this post by August 10th and you’ll be included in my random drawing. If this is your first comment to my blog, the comment will not post until I approve it.  It’s a great book to have on your to-be-read pile. Pass the contest on to anyone who might be interested.

Genres: Midgrade, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Things to like about this book: It is well written and the characters are believable. Their struggle is compelling and I wanted to stay up late and finish it – it takes alot for me to read late into the evening – so that’s saying something!

Audience: Middle School and possibly upper elementary. Give to those 6th graders who aren’t yet ready for the bigger YA dystopias.

Reviewed from: Paperback provided by publisher.

Visiting with an Old Friend

Favorite authors. Do you have one? I mean the one you read over and over and over again. I have two. First is JRR Tolkien. I cannot say how many times I’ve read through the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it is many. Of course, because Tolkien no longer walks the earth, he’s not producing any new fiction, unless you count The Children of Hurin, the unfinished epic that was edited and brought to publication in 2007 by his son Christopher Tolkien. But Frodo and Sam will not grace the page again for any of us. If Tolkien had any other stories to share with us sadly, we will never know them.

My other favorite author, who is alive and well, is Orson Scott Card. When I discovered his work in my young adult years, I rejoiced.  I have subsequently read everything he’s written.  While I don’t universally like all of his work, I always enjoy reading his stories – because he is such a craftsman when it comes to creating a science fiction/fantasy story. So whenever any new Card comes along, I am pleased as punch.  I confess to not always keeping up with what’s new, so when I found TWO new Card books while Christmas shopping, I nearly salivated. I immediately added them to my order.

Pathfinder is a new science fiction story that debuted in November of 2010.  It has all the classic Card features fans have come to love: space travel save-the-earth plans, young heroes with exceptionally special mystical talents, corrupt government officials bent on keeping or gaining power, good people who act selflessly, and fantastic technology.                                                                                     

The Lost Gate, which arrived on my doorstep in early January 2011,  is more straight fantasy. It borrows from legends of old and reminded me of Rick Riordan’s books with the “orphaned god who doesn’t understand his destiny” set in today’s America.

Id give Pathfinder my nod for favorite between the two stories, although Card fans, or any science fiction/fantasy fans, would like either of them. A good audience for either of these books would be junior high and up. I was quite pleased to be able to spend a couple of afternoons reading them. It was like catching up with an old friend. I hope their sequels get here soon – I can’t wait for another visit.