Tag Archives: middle-school age books

The Dead Club by Manuel Ruiz–Review by Bethanie

The Dead Club Manuel Ruiz

 

The Dead Club

by: Manuel Ruiz

Genre: Middle School Sci-Fi

 

First of all, don’t let the title sway you away from reading this great book. When I was first asked to review this book, the title caused me to question it. However, I am so glad I read it!

It is not very often I run across a book that has so many different elements mixed in it and yet made an easily flowing story out of it. Mr. Ruiz did it! I was very pleased!

There were parts that made me laugh and parts that made me a little teary and still others that kept me riveted to my seat. I loved this book! Another Bethanie’s Fave has been found. Thank you Mr. Ruiz for sharing your book with me!

The thought of eternity scares many people. In this book it was turned into a continuing adventure. I loved going with the young characters in this book as they fall into a Ghost Town, meet a character named Elvissarian whom was a Memphus and be able to ride in a Cadillac Convertible with the Grim Reaper at the wheel. Grim was my favorite character! Some of the things he did in this book were nothing like what one might associate with him. I loved the spin on the underworld. Reality and Mythology mix and make it one of the best stories I have read in a long time!

I would recommend this book to anyone. Even told my son he would probably enjoy it too.

Thank you Mr. Ruiz for sharing your fantastic book with me!

 

~Bethanie

 

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Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point by Jodi Auborn–Review by Bethanie

Matthias Ghost of salvation point

 

Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point

By: Jodi Auborn

Genre: Middle School  Mystery Thriller

 

I love mysteries, especially those that have ghosts in them. I must say that this is one of the best I have read this year. Considering this year is almost over, I would have to say that is really big. Another Bethanie’s Fave has been found. Ms. Auborn has brought to us a timeless story that brings the beauty of Maine into it. Lighthouses have always had a mystery to them, in my opinion, and Ms. Auborn’s story has brought this to life.

What makes it another reason for being a fave is the star is a young boy. She brought the natural boy curiosity to the table in this book. Tell me one boy who wouldn’t want to know of a secret treasure found in the backyard of his summer home next to a lighthouse in Maine. Better yet how about finding your best friend in the ghost that is the keeper of the lighthouse.

I am a southern girl, myself. Born and raised in the state of Alabama. I have always wanted to visit Maine and to see its timeless beauty for myself. This book allowed me to somewhat take myself there. I could imagine being the one who discovered the ghost. I could also imagine becoming friends with him. I can also imagine being the mother or the daughter wanting to just go back home, and the Father just trying to bring his small town where he grew up back to the place it once was.

I love the many aspects in this story. Although most that try to put a lot into their book can’t really bring it together in a good reading flow, Ms. Auborn was definitely able to bring everything together and make it flow perfectly for the reader. There is a ghost story, a treasure hunt, a kidnapping, and yet it all fits together like a beautiful puzzle.

I am so impressed by this author that I plan to get her other books and read them. I also hope that she continues this particular mystery type. Adventure is always fun and exciting. Throw a couple of thrilling moments in it and you have a rather, well-written book. Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would.

Thank you Ms. Auborn for sharing your book with me! Happy Reading!!

~Bethanie

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Welcome to the new Bethanie’s Books

This site is dedicated to those indie authors who love to write books for middle-schoolers. The contact form is on the ABOUT page. Have a book you think would be great for this age group? Let me know by filling out the contact form. I currently have reviews all the way out through March, but if you don’t mind the wait, let me know about your book so I may review it. I look forward to hearing from you!

~Bethanie

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The Secret of Sinbad’s Cave by Brydie Walker Bain–Review by Bethanie

Secret of Sinbad's cave

The Secret of Sinbad’s Cave

by: Brydie Walker Bain

Genre: Middle School  MYSTERY

At first I wondered how  Ms. Bain knew so much about the caves in this book until I read where she lived and that told me all I needed to know. Need an adventure? Dive in and find the excitement. It begins with something even I, as a 44 year-old wife and mother of two (ages 12 and 14), would love to find one day.

What child or adult for that matter would not like to find a secret passage or hidden room in their own house? Things like this have always fascinated me. It adds to the adventure and mystery of the story. Take six adventurous young minds and set them loose with what is found, along with some amazing legends. The next thing you find is high adventure, mystery, and danger lurking around every turn. Throw in a few magical beings or incredibly “insightful” adults and the next thing you know . . .

Well I won’t give that away. I’d hate to ruin the story for someone. It’s kind of like a movie you really want to see and someone ruins the ending for you. So I will just say, read the book for yourself. It is a great middle-school mystery.

The comradery of the children in this book is what I find to be my favorite part. Although I like the story–there is no story without the characters. They are what makes this one so good.  Nothing better than a group of friends with the same goal in mind and ready to do anything to get there. Thank you Ms. Bain for sharing your book with me and treating us all to the legends of Sinbad’s Caves!

~Bethanie

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The Gift of the Quoxxel by Richard Titus–Review by Bethanie

The Gift of the Quoxxel Richard Titus

 

The Gift of the Quoxxel by Richard Titus

Genre: Fantasy

Age Group: Middle Grades

 

What an imaginatively whimsical book. It was one of those that made no sense but still drew me into the story. It is unlike anything I have ever read.

Most books make sense and have some kind of storyline. This one really didn’t. Now, that is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it. Surprisingly, I did, with every strange and wonderful moment. Most read to get away from the real world. This book will definitely have you doing that. One, because you will be trying to figure out what is going on, and the other because it just transports you to this beautiful and colorful little island of Nibb.

There was nothing bad in it at all, except for  the character named Yill. He got on my nerves. He reminded me of a swarm of gnats buzzing around my head and face. I kept wanting to swat Yill away.

I was slightly broadsided by this book. There was a story, but there wasn’t a story. Yet, I still loved it. The power of words is amazing.

It is kind of hard to review a book that you cannot find a story in. At the same time, I didn’t want to put it down either. Any minute it would all come together. In a way it did. ❤

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Pick it up and read it. Tell me what you think about it. Thank you, Mr. Titus! Happy reading!

 

~Bethanie

 

 

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Spirit Within Club by Sahar Sabati–Review by Bethanie

Spirit within club--book cover

Spirit Within Club

Genre: Middle School age

By: Sahar Sabati

 

I am not sure how to take this book. It has a great message to share, but it also goes against the message it is trying to share.

Its main theme is to be accepting of everyone, yet the Spirit Within Club didn’t. The author seemed to pick on three groups, but I will not reveal them here. I will let the reader read the book and choose for themselves. There always has to be a bad guy or a group that is bad, yet no one tried to find out why the others were the way the were. If the book’s main idea is unity, then how can we have unity if we choose to leave some out?

I admire the author’s trying to make everyone love the book by buying into what everyone seems to believe–one group causing the problems, but it is not just one group. It is all groups fighting against the others because they believe what they do. She also brought out the fact that it is engrained by the parents of these children, and I will not say it isn’t. Who are our first teachers? OUR PARENTS.

WRITING AND STORYLINE

I believe the author meant this book to be rather religious, and I have no problem with that. I wish more would follow and stand by the morals of a decent society. The students in this book did. The way the students rally around Zeke both warmed my heart but made me cry at the same time. So I cannot and will not say this book is a bad book, because it isn’t. The main theme of accepting everyone as they are is a wonderful one, but maybe revisit what acceptance of all, the way they are and make the difference where you can in others lives. Age doesn’t matter.

For a seasoned writer, the writing could have been better, but if this is the first book the author has written, then they can always improve.

I will close with this. The writer was spot on with only taking one to make a difference and we all must take that first step. Well, seven friends have taken that first step. Who and how many can we add to it?

 

~Bethanie

 

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No monetary exchange was made.

 

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Monster Squad: The Iron Golem by Christian Page–Review by Bethanie

Monster Squad Iron Golemn

Monster Squad: The Iron Golem

by: Christian Page

Genre–Middle-Grade Sci-Fi

I must say that this was a very unusual book. It took every part of science fiction and wove it into something fun, comical, dramatic, and unlike anything I have read before. Mr. Page took something resembling an Avengers comic book and turned it into a novel, I was waiting on Captain America to be the narrator.

It was really strange to read this novel. Although no pictures, it turned into comic book form in my mind as I read it. It was also a very well-crafted, middle-grade novel, something I think middle-graders would enjoy reading. It was never void of action.

Superpowers, time-travel, well-known monster-related names. This novel has it all. I loved Mr. Page’s references to the older, well-known names such as Stoker, Frankenstein, and I promise I have heard the name Daschle Gaunt before, I just cannot place it in the realm of monster lore. Forgive me for those of you that might know exactly who it is. If you do, then you know what part of this novel contains, and forgive me for the possible spoiler. However, the only familiarity is the names, not for what they are known.

When reading this novel it was hard to put it down, but unfortunately my eyelids closing won out on that one, and I found myself with my iPad in my lap the next morning. The book was well-written for the middle-grade ages. It made me wonder if Mr. Page had a group of middle-graders cheering him on as he wrote it.

I am not one to give the story away by telling you what happened at every turn. I prefer the reader to find out for themselves what the story is about. So read it, parents or children. You will like it!

Storyline and Writing

I loved the way he wrote characters of different countries. Mr. Page made sure the reader knew these characters held the dialect of their country. They were very convincing. The storyline of the book was choppy. I believe I would call that the only drawback., but it helped explain other parts of the book. It jumped around to different times, then would go back to the main story. That was aggravating, but understood as I read further. So don’t stop reading. I promise it all turns out in the end. The writing only had a few errors in it, but nothing that took away from the story.

As far as my reading of it, I am new into the sci-fi genre, but with each new book I read in that genre it is definitely growing on me. Monster Squad: The Iron Golem was no exception. Although it didn’t quite end like I would have liked it too, it was still a very good story. At least there is another book after this one. Maybe it will end like I hope.  My favorite character was Dash. 🙂  Happy Reading!

~Bethanie

I was given a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No monetary exchange was made.

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The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

Map to Everywhere

No, this is not a review, just an excited post. I get emails from Books-A-Million about new books that will be coming out soon. Well, this one for some reason has really caught my eye. I absolutely cannot wait for it to come out. I am going to read it with my children and then I will let you know what I think about it. It looks really good and it is the beginning of a new series for middle-graders. I am always looking for those. I’ll have to tell you about another series that I happened upon too. We read that one too and it was GREAT! I hope this new one that is coming soon will be too.

If you want to check out availability and other info here is the link on BAM   http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Map-Everywhere/Carrie-Ryan/9780316240772?&ad=AD102314#overview .

 

Here is the Overview of it:

“Anything you need–The Map to Everywhere can take you there.”
To Master Thief Fin, an orphan from the murky pirate world of the Khaznot Quay, the Map is the key to finding his mother. To suburban schoolgirl Marrill, it’s her only way home after getting stranded on the Pirate Stream, the magical waterway which connects every world in creation (Apparently she “shouldn’t “have climbed aboard the mysterious pirate ship that sailed out of nowhere and into a dry Arizona parking lot. How was she to know?).
With the help of a bumbling wizard and his crew, they must scour the many worlds of the Pirate Stream to gather the pieces of the Map to Everywhere, but they aren’t the only ones looking. A dark and sinister figure is hot on their tail, and if they can’t beat his ghostly ship to find the Map, it could mean the destruction of everything they hold dear-not least of all themselves
In Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis’ first installment of a fantastical new series, adventure, magic, and hilarity collide in the treacherous skies and dangerous waters of the Pirate Stream. Heart-pounding escapades and a colorful cast of characters will have readers setting sail through this wholly original and unforgettable tale.

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I’m so excited!

Happy Reading!!

~Bethanie

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Gumshoes: The Case of Madison’s Father by Russell Nohelty–Review by Bethanie

Gumshoes

Gumshoes: The Case of Madison’s Father

By: Russell Nohelty

So, I am a big fan of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries, always have been. However if I had to choose between Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, or Gumshoes, my choice would be GUMSHOES. When asked to review this book and they said it was similar to Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, I thought no one could outdo those. I was wrong. Gumshoes: The Case of Madison’s Father, I enjoyed more than the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. Mr. Nohelty hit the life of a middle-schooler dead-on. I was even more impressed that Mr. Nohelty was able to mold middle-school life plus mystery together into a very fun book.  There were funny parts, semi-serious parts, and just down-right unbelievable parts. For a moment I thought we would not have a happy ending, but I was happy to be proven wrong.

The book itself was a roller-coaster ride. In reading it I would think Woohoo, they finally found them, only moments later to be thwarted in my excitement. That is the mark of a good “mystery novel.” It was obvious that it was written for a middle-schooler and since I teach middle-schoolers. I thought he nailed their interests. I was rather pleased by that.

Writing and Storyline:

The writing was just right for middle-school age children. The storyline, although a roller-coaster, was well-done. It was paced just enough to keep me interested, but not in such a hurry that I couldn’t follow.

Reccommendation:

If you are looking to get middle-schoolers interested in mystery novels, I would start with this one. Although Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew will always be the classics to me, Gumshoes is a fun way to pull in modern-day middle-schoolers to the exciting world of detectives and mystery sleuths. Thank you Mr. Nohelty. Happy Reading!

~Bethanie

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Mimi Power and the I-don’t-know-what by Victoria Miles–Review by Bethanie

Mimi Power

Mimi Power and the I-don’t-know-what

By: Victoria Miles

I stand by my first impression of this book. It was an absolutely charming read. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect at first. I wasn’t sure whether it would be “a day in the life” book, an adventure, or a comedy. With a three year old in the house, in this book, it could have been any of them and ended up being all.

Mimi Power was a delightful character. Her three-year-old little sister, well . . . let’s just say she fit the part and was written brilliantly.

The one thing in this children’s chapter book that I really liked was the inclusion of an entire family, from Mom and Dad all the way to Grandma and Grandpa, with the two little girls in between. It was very uplifting to see their interactions and their adventures as they experienced them together.

The writing and storyline were very well-polished and never caused a stumbling block in the flow of the story. It was cute and sweet and at one point even maddening. That though, ended happily. I was glad to see. Any little girl with a three-year-old little sister could definitely relate.

Would I recommend this book?

Yes, definitely. It was precious! Happy reading!

~Bethanie

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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