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Archive for the ‘Fiction 8-12’ Category

Breakaway

I received my copy from the publisher

breakaway

By: Jeff Hirsch

The 39 Clues – Unstoppable bk 2

Amy and Dan are on the run. For some reason J Rutherford Pierce is determined to destroy them. He will do this any way he can and as owner of a huge media company he is effectively targeting them in the press, any medium of press. This is a war that has been waging for years and the Cahill’s thought they were done with it all after the last time. This time the stakes are higher, Pierce has found the secret to the serum and he is planning to use it to dominate the world. The Cahills and their friends can not let this happen no matter what, they have found the ingredients they are hoping will prove to be a counter-serum and are racing against time to find things that may not (shouldn’t) exist anymore.

Amy is taking things hard this time around. She feels it is her responsibility as Grace left her to be head of the family. She begins to cut everyone off determined to allow them to escape from the danger that seems to go hand in hand with the Cahill name. Dan is at his wits end, this is becoming tiring and part of him wants nothing more than to stop, but his sister is the world to him and when she seems to betray him he is in a place he never believed he would find himself. The story remains action packed though somehow a little frustrating. Almost as if the whole thing is being dragged out too long. The relationship between Amy and Jake in its off again on again way is more frustrating than anything else. Yes I still wan to see how this ends and see Pierce get his comeuppance but I just don’t want them to take too long to get the end. You really just want the Cahills to catch a break.

Publisher: Scholastic US

Published: 06 February 2014

Format: Hardback 192 pages

Categories: Adventure, Family

ISBN 13: 9780545521420

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of the page

Five Kingdoms – Book Trailer

So Five Kingdoms – Sky Raiders has come to my desk and I am really, really eager to read it. I have so many books to read at the moment and so little time in which to do it though. This book is one I’m keeping to treat myself with, I will hit certain other targets from my to do list then I will pick it up and I don’t expect to be spoken to for the next couple of days. I will let you know how I go.

For now though here is the trailer:

Crooked Leg Road

I received my copy from the publisher.

crooked-leg-road

Jennifer Walsh

On the way to David’s house Andrea sees some strange men hanging around in the back lane. This freaks Andrea out, she thinks there is something very wrong with what she has seen but she has no evidence to back up her feelings. She tries to forget about. Then a few days later David has gone. He is just not to be found. David’s grandfather tells her not to worry but she can’t help it, something about this whole whinge feels very wrong. She ropes in Martin and Kitty to help. The first thing they need to do is find out some information about the new boy Skender, he is hiding something and his family speak the same language as the men Andrea saw in the alley. The friends are determined to find out what is going on and rescue their missing mate.

This is a tightly written mystery that wraps its fingers around you and before you know it, you too know something is wrong and you have to find out what it is. Each of the characters has strengths and weaknesses and they balance each other out. The addition of Sam, who comes across as very self obsessed, brings a strange kind of lightness to the tale. The underlying story has dark edges that can actually be a springboard to interesting conversations with your kids about what is going on in the world. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Recommended.

Publisher: Allen and Unwin Children’s Books

Published: 01 May 2014

Format: Paperback 216 pages

Categories: Mystery

ISBN 13: 9781743316931

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

8

I received my copy from the publisher.8By: James Phelan

The Last 13 bk 6

Things are moving fast, Sam has gone from the jungles, where they found another gear and only barely getting away from Han’s men. Lucky for Sam they were distracted by hidden treasures. When they ran into Stella they were found themselves flying away from a dart gun attack. Things seemed fine for a moment when they finally got to meet up with their associates. Unfortunately their plan was grounded in Cuba due to bad weather. This proves fortuitous  because Sam’s next dream tells him the next dreamer is in Cuba. On finding Maria they begin a search that involves her missing father and sunken trips. Hopefully in the process they will find another gear.

Meanwhile Lora and Eve are in Mac’s clutches and Alex is with a team that goes to a defunct Enterprise base where their initial genetic testing and experiments occurred.

This instalment sees Eve have an interesting character arc as she finds out more about her family and her aunt. Sam continues to stay the course, he is at the heart of the action which continues its non-stop forward momentum as the search for the gears continues flat out. The story is interesting, with enough different locations and story streams delivered in short, sharp chapters. This style works to keep reluctant readers interested. Locations all around the world add intrigue and interest. A fun, fast paced series.

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 May 2014

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Adventure, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831893

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

 

9

I received my copy from the publisher.

9

By: James Phelan

The Last 13 bk 5

Sam and Zara have been kidnapped by Hans, and the whole situation is shifting as Enterprise Agents and Guardians now find themselves working together to search down Stella and Matrix. Despite having lost Zara’s gear to Solaris the search for the other pieces continues. This is when the Academy’s London facility gets attacked. The group have to step things up, they are searching for things on so many fronts; they need to find Solaris, Stella, Mac, Hans and the gears. There is so very much to do and resources are now limited with the formidable Matrix on the opposing team.

Sam still has his dreams though and they lead him to South America. There he meets Rapha and their search takes them into the heart of the Amazon jungle. Things don’t get easier though because Hans and Stella are hot on their heels.

The action cranks up as the story action splits off to follow more directions. There are fun little information snippets for the different locations Sam finds himself in which add realism to the action. This series is fun and follows a formula that appears to keep readers interested, keep the instalments short. Avid readers will read these in amongst their longer reads whilst the shorter format encourages those who aren’t that keen on reading to pick up the books. Fast paced action in easy to digest instalments.

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 April 2014

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Action, Adventure, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831886

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas

the-boy-who-swam-with-piranhasBy: David Almond

Illustrated by: Oliver Jeffers

Stanley Potts lived with his aunt and uncle after his parents had died. His aunt and uncle had been so good to him but then things went really crazy when his uncle started a fish canning business. The craziness didn’t stop, and soon it got all too much for Stanley and he runs away. Stanley joins the fair and works on the hook-a-duck stall. He finds a place and new home, and then he meets Pancho Pirelli, the man who swims with piranhas and Pancho offers him a job.

This is a wonderfully woven tale that simply sweeps you along. Stanley is a boy with a big heart and a gift for dealing with fish. He is willing to do what he has to to survive and in his own way stands up for what he thinks is wrong (even to one of the people he cares most about in the world). The fair is a colourful backdrop to a story of adventure and discovery. The elements of humour and it’s subplot of DAFT give a fairytale feel bad guy to the story. This is a wonderful tale that shows even as a child you are capable of achieving things others say can’t be done. There is something touching here; truth, whimsy and encouragement of a a child’s belief in self.

Highly recommended.

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd

Published: 05 September 2013

Format: Paperback 256 pages

Categories: Fiction

ISBN 13: 9781406337464

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

 

11

I received this from the publisher.

11

James Phelan

The Last 13 Bk 3

Sam reconnects with Xavier Dark and the two of them take the next part of the journey together to Berlin. Things are moving fast and having access to a private jet certainly helps when you have to journey all over the world. Through his dad Xavier has some good connections to information that will hopefully help. What happens though when some of those connections you thought were good turn out to be bad? The sides are becoming more and more blurred. Somehow they end up in an underground bunker at the Berlin Zoo and things get explosive.

The pace of these books remains fast, and tight. The historical aspects give it a greater dimension, reinforcing the idea that this the end play of a search that has been in place for generations. Sam is all action, there is not much else to him but it is action that drives the story. The dynamic between Alex and his mother is given a light brushing over, with them working on the same side. The story is fun escapism but there isn’t a lot of depth to it, which makes it great for more reluctant readers. The short length of both the chapters and the books is another thing that makes it a good choice for those people. Recommended for 10+.

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 February 2014

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Adventure, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831862

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

10

I received my copy from the publisher.

10

By: James Phelan

The Last 13 bk 4

Sam and Xavier are in dire straights. Sam is convinced this is the end – his at the hands of Solaris. Then rescue comes in a very unexpected way. He was sure Alex was dead but now it looks as though he is working with The Enterprise and Sam doesn’t know what to make of that. He can’t stop thought to find out, the next dreamer needs to be located and his search takes him to Paris. The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, over ground and underground, and it seems that there is no longer any way to tell who is on what side and exactly how many factions are involved.

The pace of this story doesn’t relent. The different perspectives are woven together well. The introduction of new characters works to bring them into the team, though it is nice that they don’t all believe immediately. Zara is a nice addition; smart and cautious. Her parents support what she is about to do even though they are affiliated with The Enterprise, and this is just one of the ways the boundaries between the sides is blurred. This uncertainty ups the ante as with the various factions there is no opportunity for the action to stop.

Eve also goes through a bit of a change in this instalment and it will be interesting to see how this is fleshed out or if it will just be ignored. Strangely Sam is probably the least well rounded of all the characters, in many ways he is a function of the action. It is Sam who keeps the story going. I wonder if that is going to be enough to keep him interesting or if he will benefit from a little depth of character writing. None of that takes from the fact that this series is a rip roaring read.

Worth a look if you want short instalments and plenty of action. Age 10+

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 March 2014

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Action, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831879

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.

Machine Wars

machine-warsBy: Michael Pryor

Bram was late home from music practice, these things happen but this time something is very wrong when he gets home. This is a moment he has been training for. For some reason a paranoid, super intelligence is out to get him. His mum always said she hoped this would never happen but she made sure he was prepared if it did. Thing is Bram really wasn’t expecting it to be today. The plan calls for Bram to scatter and hide. It sounds so simple but with so much technology around that the intelligence is able to tap into to use to hunt for him, that is no easy task. Bram isn’t alone in this, somehow his best friend gets dragged into his disaster. Also there is one piece of technology left that is on his side, a Roboduck called Bob. This unlikely group have to survive, if they can do that they will be instrumental in saving the world.

A fun roller coaster of a read. The pace of it does not stop. Bram is a bit of a loner, all his moving about has made it difficult for him to make friends. Stella gets through his defences by being herself. She refuses to let herself be boxed into one group, instead she goes out of her way to be friends with everyone. This is beneficial in this situation because she has learnt some neat little bits of information along the way. Bob is such a wonderful addition to the story. He is part comic relief, part necessary associate and a reminder of another robot with self esteem issues from another series of books.

The world Pryor has created seems not too distant from our own in many ways, just with an abundance of technology that we don’t live with.I enjoy the way Pryor has blended together the familiar and the not so familiar to create a place that is very easy to visualise. you can almost hear the machines, (though it’s entirely possible that that is my over active imagination). I also like the way the characters work together, how Stella is an equal partner in their survival. The story touches on some interesting ethical issues around the topic of artificial intelligence, but the ethics don’t bog it down.

Another wonderful read from one of my favourite authors. For ages 10+

Recommended.

Publisher: Random House Australia Children’s Books

Published: 01 April 2014

Format: Paperback 288 pages

Categories: Artificial Intelligence, Action

ISBN 13: 9780857982766

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of the page.

 

Cave of Wonders

cave-of-wondersMatthew J Kirby

Infinity Ring bk 5

Bagdad has become a centre of learning in the Dark Ages. As well as merchants and explorers from all over the city houses many scholars. It is here that Sera, Dak and Riq find themselves for their next fix. They determine that they have to find a way to save the great library that is there from destruction. This is no small task as what is coming toward the city is one of the most ferocious and successful armies ever, the Mongols. Convincing the Khan is one thing, they still have to get around the SQ and they have no idea who they are, or who might be on their side.

This is a turning point for Sera who finally shares her big secret, so it is a weight she is no longer carrying alone. Riq still has his own demons to face and with it looking like they will be returning to their own time shortly he has no clue what is going to happen to him, but he continues to hold this close. This is a fun addition because for all the success of the Mongols they are not often used in a children’s book setting and this is an interesting look at that army and what was the prosperous city of Bagdad. I enjoyed the tone of this one and continue to look forward to what the next instalment brings.

Publisher: Scholastic US

Published: 05 September 2013

Format: Hardback 192 pages

Categories: General Adventure Science Fiction Historical

ISBN 13: 9780545387002

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page

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