Archive for the ‘Series’ Category

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

“‘Once upon a time’ These are the most magical words our world has ever known and the gateway to the greatest stories ever told. They’re an immediate calling to anyone who hears them-a calling into a world where everyone is welcome and anything can happen. Mice can become men, maids can become princesses, and they can teach valuable lessons in the process.”

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The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer, is the story of a pair of twins, a boy and a girl, named Conner and Alex Bailey. In the book, Conner and Alex accidentally get transported into the fairy tale world, and they want to find a way back home. But, the only way to get back to the real world is to collect certain items that are dangerously hard to comeby. These items form the Wishing Spell, and will grant the twins passage back home. In this person vs. person conflict, Conner and Alex must work tirelessly to obtain the necessary items before time runs out.

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I have to admit, when my brother first recommended this book to me, I was a bit skeptical. However, as soon as I was a couple chapters into this book, I was hooked. But, since it did take a couple chapters, I would rate the book a four out of five. In my opinion, there is a healthy balance of action (mild action, if I may add) as well as some valuable lessons learned and a conflict that kept me on the edge of my seat. I particularly enjoyed the part of the book when Alex and Conner are retrieving a specific item from the bottom of the sea, and encounter The Little Mermaid herself. In general, the main reason I enjoyed the book was because of the widespread presence of characters from all the fairy tales we know and love, including Snow White, Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Cinderella. The only criticism I had with this book was the way Chris Colfer twisted some of the stories to comply with his plot. For example: in the book, Red Riding Hood is an elected queen, and has her own kingdom. This is obviously a departure from the original story, but it can be easily forgiven. Because of its universal subject matter, this book will appeal to a wide range of audiences, but I would particularly recommend it for ages 8-13. It would also be a good book for a group read. The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is the perfect book for a reader who loves fantasy with a little action.

Extra Note: In case you loved this book and want more, there are three more books in this series, which I have listed below. Enjoy!

2. The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns

3. The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning

4. The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms

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Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

“The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective.” (Patterson, 2005, pg.1) This is the first sentence of the first Maximum Ride book, The Angel Experiment. It’s also what Max and her gang face for a big part of their lives- imminent death.

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Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson is a action-packed, exhilarating story of six kids who are very different from everyone else. Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, The Gasman, and Angel. Aside from being mostly human, they have wings, and the bone structure of a bird. The flock spends a good chunk of their life running from the scientists who had once created them and the scientists who were now trying to re-capture them. To do this, the scientists sent out Erasers, or blood-thirsty werewolves whose mission is to recover the ‘mutant bird kids’.

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Set in modern-day America, this is the story of six outcast children, trying to find out who they are, and where they came from. My favorite part in this book is probably when the flock (What Max refers to as all of her ‘siblings’ and her) are all flying through the air. The way that Max describes the feeling of flight makes you feel as though you were up thousands of feet with her. However, the book is a bit violent, on par with something like The Hunger Games, so I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone under age 12. Overall, I loved The Angel Experiment. I’m not quite done with the series; however, I am definitely hooked, and you will be too, as soon as you read this first installment.

In addition to this book, there are eight other books in the series:

  1. The Angel Experiment
  2. School’s Out Forever
  3. Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports
  4. The Final Warning
  5. Max
  6. Fang
  7. Angel
  8. Nevermore
  9. Maximum Ride Forever (Which won’t be released until May 4, 2015)

There will also be a Maximum Ride movie sometime in the future, however the release date is unknown. Stay tuned!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Boom! Boom! Boom! A cannon fires. And then another. And then another! More tributes dead. This is all good for Katniss Everdeen, who is competing for victory in the 74th Hunger Games held in the country of Panem.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a story of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the post-apocalyptic country of Panem. In Panem there are 12 districts, and Katniss lives in District 12. This district is known for coal-mining, and is universally recognized as very poor. The people are starving, and when Katniss’ father dies in a mining accident, her mother sinks into deep depression, and Katniss must learn to hunt in order to keep her family alive. Winning the games will mean riches beyond compare for her and her family, and glory for her unpopular district. Will she make it back to her family alive? Will the odds be in her favor? Travel with Katniss on her action-packed journey through the Hunger Games as she struggles to survive.

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Some of the universal themes that are portrayed in this book are love, family, courage, oppression, and tyranny. But, because some of these things are very mature, I would recommend this book to kids ages 12 and up.
My favorite parts in this book are whenever Cinna, Katniss’ stylist describes different costumes that Katniss wears to her interviews, training, and other public appearances. And, of course, my favorite character is Katniss.
In addition to to this book, there are two others in the series: Catching Fire and Mockingjay. If you do end up reading the first book, be sure to check out the next two! Also, there are movies for all of them, and Mockingjay Part Two is coming out in November 2015. I hope that these books keep you on the edge of your seat like they did for me!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

If you’ve been living in America or Europe for the last decade, you probably heard of Harry Potter before. Many people had suggested these books to me to read, but I always resisted and said that they were just for fantasy-lovers. Boy, was I wrong.

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The first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, is about an 11-year-old boy, Harry Potter, who has been living with his horrible aunt and uncle, and their spoiled, bratty son, Dudley, ever since his parents died. He hates it there, because he is very different from the Dursley’s. While Mr. and Mrs. Dursley live very ordinary lives, and are very ordinary people, Harry, (though he doesn’t know it) is a wizard. So when a letter arrives from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry sets off on the Hogwarts Express, not knowing what awaits him there.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is about a boy who finds out his true identity, and realizes that he has a big role to play in the huge battle of Good vs. Evil in the Wizard world. Will Harry rise to meet the challenges before him, or will the dark side prevail? There are so many things to love about this book:  mystery, adventure, and friendship. Even the descriptions of life at a boarding school are interesting.

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The only reason this book may not be for you, is if you strongly dislike anything to do with witchcraft or wizardry, even if it is harmless. Also, I wouldn’t recommend Harry Potter to younger children, because if you end up liking the first book, and want to read the rest of the series, the story can get pretty intense and violent toward the end. There are 7 books in this series:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone- Year 1
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- Year 2
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- Year 3
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- Year 4
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix- Year 5
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince- Year 6
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows- Year 7

I hope that, if you read this book, you love it as much as I do.

American Girl Series

Step back in time and fight in the Civil War or put on some moccasins as you read The American Girl series by various authors. Enjoy stories that you’ll never forget!

The American Girl series is a group of 6-book series that star 12 different girls in 11 different time periods. There is a different girl in each of the books

  • Kirsten, who lived as a pioneer in the 1800’s
  • Samantha, who lived in a Victorian home during the turn of the century
  • Molly, who fights along with her country during World War 2
  • Kaya, who is a hardworking American Indian
  • Cecile and Marie-Grace, who develop a friendship as they walk the streets of New Orleans during the 1850’s
  • Addy, who fights for her rights as a black person during the Civil War
  •  Felicity, who bears her obnoxious petticoats during the Revolutionary War
  •  Julie, a young girl growing up in the turbulent times of the 1970’s
  • Josefina a Hispanic-American growing up during the 1820’s
  • Kit, who dreams of being a reporter during the Great Depression
  • Rebecca, a girl growing up in a Jewish family living during 1914.

My favorite character is probably Molly, because I’m particularly interested in that time period. The reading level for the basic series is 8-12, though there are American Girl Mysteries, which continue some of the girls’ lives with a bit of mystery. Those books are best suited for ages 10 and up, and are some of my favorites.  If you are more interested in modern-day girls, every year beginning in 2003, the American Girl franchise has released a “Girl of the Year,” complete with her modern day issues that girls from the 2000’s can relate to.

Like the title suggests, these books really are better for girls, but I have heard of some boys enjoying them as well, because in the end, they are just good stories.

If you really get into the American Girl world, you can buy dolls (and all their accessories) at the American Girl stores, or play games and do other activities on their website, www.americangirl.com.

The Magic Tree House Series

The wind started to blow. The tree house started to spin. It spun faster and faster. Then everything was still. Absolutely still.

These are the words that begin each adventure for Jack and Annie in the Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne.  In this series (47 books and counting!) a brother and sister find a magic tree house in the woods. The tree house whisks them back to different time periods and Jack and Annie have to go on missions to help people, save an animal in distress, or break a spell.  In the books, Jack is the bookworm and I think that if I were one of the characters in the books I would be Jack because I’m the bookworm of my family too. I have read all the books written so far, and my favorite is Dolphins at Daybreak, which is #9 in the series. The reason that’s my favorite book in the series is because my favorite animal is the dolphin, (I think I might’ve mentioned that in my post about Dolphin Tale) and when Jack and Annie are in distress themselves, dolphins come and give the pair a ride to shore!

The reading level is best suited for ages 6-10, though my brother started reading the series when he was 5, and he caught up to me in only 4 months! He is eagerly awaiting the next title in the series, which will be released in July, called A Perfect Time for Pandas, because he is obsessed with pandas. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the genre of the series. The books don’t exactly fit into one genre, it’s historical fiction, adventure, and a hint of fantasy. The following is a list of the books currently published, and I think there is something here for everyone.

  1. Dinosaurs Before Dark
  2. The Knight at Dawn
  3. Mummies in the Morning
  4. Pirates Past Noon
  5. Night of the Ninjas
  6. Afternoon on the Amazon
  7. Sunset of the Sabertooth
  8. Midnight on the Moon
  9. Dolphins at Daybreak
  10. Ghost Town at Sundown
  11. Lions at Lunchtime
  12. Polar Bears Past Bedtime
  13. Vacation Under the Volcanoe
  14. Day of the Dragon King
  15. Viking Ships at Sunrise
  16. Hour of the Olympics
  17. Tonight on the Titanic
  18. Buffalo Before Breakfast
  19. Tigers at Twilight
  20. Dingoes at Dinnertime
  21. Civil War on Time
  22. Revolutionary War on Wednesday
  23. Twister on Tuesday
  24. Earthquake in the Early Morning
  25.  Stage Fright on a Summer Night
  26. Good Morning, Gorillas
  27. Thanksgiving on Thursday
  28. High Tide in Hawaii

Merlin Missions

29. Christmas in Camelot

30. Haunted Castle on Hollows Eve

31. Summer of the Sea Serpent

32.Winter of the Ice Wizard

33. Carnival at Candlelight

34. Season of the Sandstorms

35. Night of the New Magicians

36. Blizzard of the Blue Moon

37. Dragon of the Red Dawn

38. Monday with the Mad Genius

39. Dark Day in the Deep Sea

40. Eve of the Emperor Penguin

41. Moonlight of the Magic Flute

42. A Good Night for Ghosts

43. Leprechaun in Late Winter

44. Ghost Tale for Christmas Time

45. A Crazy Day with Cobras

46. Dogs at the Dead of Night

47. Abe Lincoln at Last!

The Mandie Series

For those of you who have been sitting on pins and needles to figure out what my all-time favorite book series is, please listen for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Today I’m going to introduce you to…(drumroll please) The Mandie Series by Lois Gladys Leppard!

This mystery series is set in the mountains of North Carolina in the early 1900’s and follows Mandie Shaw in her adventures. When Mandie’s dad died, it seemed like that was the end of the world to her. But her good Cherokee friend, Uncle Ned, helps Mandie escape from her stepmom, who treats her terribly. She sets out to find her Uncle John and discovers her real mother, who her father was previously married to.  My favorite character in the books is Celia, because when Mandie goes to finishing school, she doesn’t know anyone, but then a shy girl from Richmond, Virginia comes along, and she becomes Mandie’s best friend. I like how Celia is always there for Mandie whenever she goes on an adventure. I also like Snowball, Mandie’s cat, who was a gift to Mandie from her dad before he died. Snowball is also in every Mandie mystery and usually finds a lot of helpful clues. Go Snowball!

The reading level for this series is 8 and up. There are 40 books in the series, and I am going to list them all, because I love to type.  The books were out of print, but now some of the first ones are back in Christian book stores, because there have been a couple of movies made out of the first books. My favorite book is Mandie and the Fiery Rescue, which is set in Ireland, and it ends with Mandie rescuing a little girl from a burning building, and Mandie’s grandmother ends up adopting the girl as her own.

  1. Mandie and the Secret Tunnel
  2. Mandie and the Cherokee Legend
  3. Mandie and the Ghost Bandits
  4. Mandie and the Forbidden Attic
  5. Mandie and the Trunk’s Secret
  6. Mandie and the Medicine Man
  7. Mandie and the Charleston Phantom
  8. Mandie and the Abandoned Mine
  9. Mandie and the Hidden Treasure
  10. Mandie and the Mysterious Bells
  11. Mandie and the Holiday Surprise
  12. Mandie and the Washington Nightmare
  13. Mandie and the Midnight Journey
  14. Mandie and the Shipboard Mystery
  15. Mandie and the Foreign Spies
  16. Mandie and the Silent Catacombs
  17. Mandie and the Singing Chalet
  18. Mandie and the Jumping Juniper
  19. Mandie and the Mysterious Fisherman
  20. Mandie and the Windmill’s Message
  21. Mandie and the Fiery Rescue
  22. Mandie and the Angel’s Secret
  23. Mandie and the Dangerous Imposters
  24. Mandie and the Invisible Troublemaker
  25. Mandie and her Missing Kin
  26. Mandie and the Schoolhouse Secret
  27. Mandie and the Courtroom Battle
  28. Mandie and Jonathan’s Predicament
  29. Mandie and the Unwanted Gift
  30. Mandie and the Long Good Bye
  31. Mandie and the Buried Stranger
  32. Mandie and the Seaside Rendezvous
  33. Mandie and the Dark Alley
  34. Mandie and the Tornado!
  35. Mandie and the Quilt Mystery
  36. Mandie and the New York Secret
  37. Mandie and the Night Thief
  38. Mandie and the Hidden Past
  39. Mandie and the Missing Schoolmarm
  40. Mandie and the Graduation Mystery