Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Memes: Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
The classroom door swung open.

Every head in the class turned to see a boy with messy blond hair walk in.
Friday 56:
She looked out the windshield, less than thrilled. "Thank you for sharing your run-down barn with me."
This week I am reading Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock. I got this ARC from Macmillan. Here is the description from Amazon:
A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Debut author Tiffany Pitcock delivers a spot-on depiction of first love and the high school rumor mill in Just Friends, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

ARC Review: The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky

The Countdown Conspiracy
Author: Katie Slivensky
Publication: HarperCollins (August 1, 2017)

Description: Ambassador, you are go for launch in T- minus 5…4…3…2…. Get ready to blast off with this high-action, high-stakes middle grade adventure that’s perfect for fans of Chris Grabenstein and Peter Lerangis!

Miranda Regent can’t believe she was just chosen as one of six kids from around the world to train for the first ever mission to Mars. But as soon as the official announcement is made, she begins receiving anonymous threatening messages…and when the training base is attacked, it looks like Miranda is the intended target. Now the entire mission—and everyone’s lives—are at risk. And Miranda may be the only one who can save them.

The Martian meets The Goonies in this out-of-this-world middle grade debut where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

My Thoughts: In this near future science fiction story, six kids from around the world are chosen to train for an up-coming mission to Mars. The kids and the space program to get them to Mars is an effect of a fragile peace that exists. Not everyone is happy with the peace or happy that Miranda has been chosen from the United States. Many people feel that she was chosen as a political gesture rather than for her talents.

When Miranda learns this, it causes her to doubt herself and he constant low ranking among the six trainees reinforces her doubts. Her most persistent rival is Anna. She and Anna tied in a previous science competition and Anna hasn't gotten over not being first. Miranda underestimates herself though. She is a talented engineer who has built her own supercomputer robot that she calls Ruby. She doesn't give up but decides that she will just work harder to learn what she doesn't already know.

When disaster strikes on a training mission, the kids have to all work together and use all their skills to get back to Earth and defeat the villain that engineered the disaster. Each of the kids had distinct personalities and talents which added to the excitement of this story.

The story is very realistic. The author's note talks about the author's research and the author's interest in spaceflight and space exploration.

Favorite Quote:
I stiffen. "Why are you telling me this?"

"Because you have a right to know what the evidence is piling up to suggest," Lizzie replies. "You aren't a baby. You're thirteen, you're training to be an astronaut, and you're one of the smartest people on the planet."
I received this one for review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
"Hello, Esteban." I reach forward to shake his hand.

"Isn't this exciting?" Without warning, Esteban takes my hand and yanks me in for a hug. "It's like we're family already!"
This week I am reading The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky. I got this eARC from Edelweiss. Here is the description from Amazon:
Ambassador, you are go for launch in T- minus 5…4…3…2…. Get ready to blast off with this high-action, high-stakes middle grade adventure that’s perfect for fans of Chris Grabenstein and Peter Lerangis!

Miranda Regent can’t believe she was just chosen as one of six kids from around the world to train for the first ever mission to Mars. But as soon as the official announcement is made, she begins receiving anonymous threatening messages…and when the training base is attacked, it looks like Miranda is the intended target. Now the entire mission—and everyone’s lives—are at risk. And Miranda may be the only one who can save them.

The Martian meets The Goonies in this out-of-this-world middle grade debut where the stakes couldn’t be higher

Saturday, July 22, 2017

ARC Review: The Danger Gang and the Pirates of Borneo! by Stephen Bramucci

The Danger Gang and the Pirates of Borneo!
Author: Stephen Bramucci, illustrated by Arree Chung
Series: Danger Gang (Book 1)
Publication: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (August 1, 2017)

Description: Ronald Zupan is a daring master adventurer! But he actually hasn't experienced any grand adventures . . . YET! When his world-traveling parents are kidnapped on his twelfth birthday, Ronald seizes the chance to prove himself with a dazzling, danger-defying rescue operation.

Teaming up with his trusty butler Jeeves, his quick-witted fencing nemesis Julianne Sato, and his pet cobra Carter, Ronald sets course for the jungle of Borneo where his parents were last sighted. If they can crash-land a plane and outrun a hungry snow leopard, surely they can find the secret lair of Zeetan Z, the world's most ruthless pirate! But as their adventure becomes more and more dangerous, can Ronald and his companions muster enough courage to see this adventure through?

My Thoughts: Ronald Zupan is primed and ready to be a master adventurer like his famous parents. He has a pet Cobra named Carter and a dashing, and very realistic, mustache. On the morning of his eleventh birthday, he wakes to find that his parents, who promised to return to help him celebrate, are not there.

Ronald, his pet cobra, his reluctant butler Jeeves and his fencing rival Julianne Sato are off to find them. During their adventures they fly and crash land an airplane, deal with a giant, outwit poop slinging orangutans and their trainer Three-fingered Jack, and chase down the dreaded pirate Zeetan Z. Each page is filled with outrageous adventure told by Ronald who is quick to make himself an extraordinary hero. At the end of each chapter, Jeeves, who is really Tom Halladay, adds some notes about errors in Ronald's telling of the story.

I enjoyed this story and think it will be a hit with upper elementary and middle grade students. They will enjoy getting to know Ronald and watching him grow and change through the course of this story. 

This book will be illustrated though my advanced reader copy has only sketches of what is to come. The illustrations look like they will enhance the story and the adventure.

Favorite Quote:
"Who do you think kidnapped your parents?" Julianne asked as I tried to pry Carter off her shoulder.

"A soulless villain," I said. "A dastardly dog, a spineless rogue, a --"

"So, no idea then?"
I received this one for review from Bloomsbury. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Memes: The Danger Gang and the Pirates of Borneo! by Stephen Bramucci

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
Hello Friend,

Are you ready for a dazzling tale of grand adventure? A tale of swordfights and disguises? Of pirates and stolen relics?
Friday 56:
"Elexander," I began, "how long has this spectacular research station been here?"

The mechanic grabbed the base of the lightbulb and angled it so it cast a warm glow on the map.
This week I am reading The Danger Gang and the Pirates of Borneo! by Stephen Bramucci, illustrated by Arree Chung. I got this ARC from Bloomsbury. Here is the description from Amazon:
Ronald Zupan is a daring master adventurer! But he actually hasn't experienced any grand adventures . . . YET! When his world-traveling parents are kidnapped on his twelfth birthday, Ronald seizes the chance to prove himself with a dazzling, danger-defying rescue operation.

Teaming up with his trusty butler Jeeves, his quick-witted fencing nemesis Julianne Sato, and his pet cobra Carter, Ronald sets course for the jungle of Borneo where his parents were last sighted. If they can crash-land a plane and outrun a hungry snow leopard, surely they can find the secret lair of Zeetan Z, the world's most ruthless pirate! But as their adventure becomes more and more dangerous, can Ronald and his companions muster enough courage to see this adventure through?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

ARC Review: The Emperor of Mars by Patrick Samphire

The Emperor of Mars
Author: Patrick Samphire
Series: Secrets of the Dragon Tomb (Book 2)
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (July 18, 2017)

Description: A missing Martian. A sinister plot. A Napoleonic spy. . . Boundless adventures await in Book 2 of The Secrets of the Dragon Tomb middle grade sci-fi series!

If Edward thought life was going to be easy in Lunae City, he was very, very wrong. The moment he intercepts a thief escaping from Lady Harleston’s town house, he is caught in a terrible scheme that threatens all of Mars. Soon he’s fighting off vicious sea serpents, battling a small army of heavily armored thugs, and trying to unpick an impossible mystery. Edward doesn’t know whom he can trust. Will he make the right choice? Or will his family―and his entire planet―fall victim to the treacherous Emperor of Mars?

My Thoughts: In the second book of the Secrets of the Dragon's Tomb series, Edward has given up being the protector for his family since he has finally realized that they can take care of themselves. However, this leaves him at rather loose ends as he tries to decided what he should do with himself instead.

He soon finds himself involved in another mystery when he spots a young thief slipping from a neighbors house and is soon accused of the crime himself. He and his genius younger sister Putty are also on the case of a missing Martian and find themselves facing their old nemesis Dr. Blood who has his own sinister plot in mind.

This story is filled with adventure, steampunk gadgets, dangerous Martian wildlife, and a large assortment of villains all after Edward and his family. Edward feels that he is the only non-genius in his distinguished and eccentric family but he is underestimating himself. He is brave and bold and cares very much for doing the right thing.

Fans of adventure with a science fiction and alternate history twist will enjoy this exciting middle grade series.

Favorite Quote:
There is a particular kind of exhaustion that comes over you when you realize that every one of your siblings is a genius and you are not. Especially when the sister you've always thought was empty-headed and silly solves a problem that has stumped generations of scholars.
I received this one for review from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Memes: The Emperor of Mars by Patrick Samphire

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
Mars, 1817

I was twenty feet underground, surrounded by glowing blue sandfish crystals, with my head jammed in a beetle-vine warren, when I realized that vine-mining wasn't for me.
Friday 56:
"Parthenia will do no such thing while in my charge," Miss Wilkins said coldly. She was sitting as straight as a rod opposite Putty. "She might have been allowed to run wild while under the care of others, but I am quite a different proposition."
This week I am reading The Emperor of Mars by Patrick Samphire. I got this ARC from Macmillan. Here is the description from Amazon:
A missing Martian. A sinister plot. A Napoleonic spy. . . Boundless adventures await in Book 2 of The Secrets of the Dragon Tomb middle grade sci-fi series!

If Edward thought life was going to be easy in Lunae City, he was very, very wrong. The moment he intercepts a thief escaping from Lady Harleston’s town house, he is caught in a terrible scheme that threatens all of Mars. Soon he’s fighting off vicious sea serpents, battling a small army of heavily armored thugs, and trying to unpick an impossible mystery. Edward doesn’t know whom he can trust. Will he make the right choice? Or will his family―and his entire planet―fall victim to the treacherous Emperor of Mars?