Alex and the Other

March 28, 2018

Alex and the otherAlex and The Other by Philippa Dowding

illustrated by Shawna Daigle

Published by: Dundurn Press, c2018; 137p. [ARC]         Series: Weird stories gone wrong     

From back cover:
“Beware the haunted bathroom mirror. Beware strangers in overcoats and dark glasses. But most of all, Beware The Other…..”

Alex and The Other is the fourth installment in Philippa Dowding’ spooky series “Weird stories gone wrong“.  This series is like a mash-up of the TV shows ‘Urban Legends’ and ‘Ghost Adventures’! Every tale is filled with heart-stopping pauses, thrilling psychological twists, yet each of the central characters has a unique humanness to them… and the character of Alex is no exception.

Alex is a loner and likes to stay to himself. This penchant for solitude has him seeking out the only place in school that he can be alone and that is the supposedly haunted boys bathroom. His retreat to this basement refuge is disrupted by an unexpected occurrence after looking at his reflection in the mirror. Fear and confusion start to seep into his psyche bit by bit, and he begins to wonder if  he would know if he was going crazy or not! Then green fog, strange voices, infiltrate his hideaway and an overpowering fright launches him running home. Once again, Alex is left questioning if this was all his imagination or not. Then Alex meets The Other and the struggles with himself, begin in earnest.

Author Philppa Dowding has created a narrative that is gripping page-turner where readers will be engaged and mesmerized from beginning to end!

Every school library should have this series and reluctant readers will vanish!

I cannot wait to read her next installment in this series!

Highly Recommended for grades 4-7!     Five Stars
five-stars

 

 

 

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Avalanche! by Terry Lynn Johnson

March 1, 2018

AvalancheAvalanche! by Terry Lynn Johnson [Series: Survivor Diaries: Book 2]

Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: c2018: 104p.

Avalanche!! The word alone conjures up a combination of unspeakable beauty, power and terror.

Avalanche! is the second book in the acclaimed action-adventure series, Survivor Diaries by Terry Lynn Johnson.

Readers will be riveted by this narrative at the start from the opening tantalizing sentence “Tell me how you survived the avalanche?“.  The descriptive action and suspense continues  until the last page is reached!

The protagonist of this survivor diary is twelve year-old twin Ashley Hilder and her interview sets the stage for an engaging first-person narrative. Being told from this perspective heightens the reader’s anxiety levels as they become a silent witness to a family ski holiday where a rash ‘competitive’ decision has unforeseen consequences  for [both]  brother and sister.

The strength of Ashley’s character is a reflection of her intense training as a skier to always ‘be prepared’.  As the nightmare of the avalanche unfolds, this instinctive  reflex allows her to think logically and not panic.

Throughout the story, the author has interwoven all sorts of survival skills needed to survive such an event. All of the techniques that Ashley displays, are the reactions needed to get through an catastrophic event, such as being caught in an avalanche. Readers will be riveted to the narrative from beginning to end, holding their breathe until the very last chapter!

This high-octane story of survival and adventure, will have reader’s adding Ms. Johnson’s Avalanche and all the books in her Survivor Diaries, with Lauren Tarshis’  “I survived” and Gary Paulsen’s “Hatchet” books.

Series Titles: Overboard

Highly Recommended  for any reader from grade 3-6 and every school library!!!
five-stars


A World Below

February 15, 2018

below

A World Below : by Wesley T. King

Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books  c.2018;  274p.  [Ebook generously supplied by NetGalley] : to be released March2018

[A 2018 Junior Library Guild selection]

From celebrated, multi-nominated award winning author, Wesley King, comes his latest middle grade adventure, “A World Below“. The ethereal-like cover only hints at what is the story could be like between the pages!

Readers will be shocked, riveted and intrigued from the first page : “consider everyone on this list missing or deceased.  Notify parents immediately. Pictures for identification of bodies may be required.” 

As the title implies, the majority of this fast paced adventure story dives deep below ‘terra ferma’ and takes the world of caving, caverns, and tunnels to a whole new level! The author`s effective use of vivid description, intense action and suspense continually builds with each alternating ‘time’ stamped chapter.

For myself, A World Below is a cool mix of  Arthur Conon Doyle’s The Lost World and Jules Verne’s “Journey to the centre of the earth” and Edgar Rice Burrough’s ‘The Lost Continent’ — a true science fiction fantasy adventure tale.

This is a story of challenges and discovery that will captivate even the most reluctant of readers!

Highly Recommended for all Middle Grade readers who wish to go ‘spelunking’!!

five-stars

Booktrailer: A World Below


Slide by Norah McClintock

September 26, 2016

slideIn the “Seven Prequels” set, Slide by award winning author Norah McClintock, is one of the titles in the latest “Seven” series phenomena published by Orca Book Publishers.

Readers familiar with the characters in these books, are re-introduced to them as  boys who are a bit younger…namely in 13 years old range. The characteristically dare-devil grandfather and grandson relationship that is often core in these narratives, is replaced in  McClintock’s tale by grandson Rennie ‘hanging’ with his adventure rule-bending grandmother as he gets to travel with her to a ski resort in the back country, despite his stepfather’s adamant instructions to the contrary.

McClintock creative writing style weaves together action, adventure, mystery and murder with humour as Rennie experiences the first ever pangs of ‘love’ in the midst of trying to satisfy  and solve some very unusual circumstances.

The story accelerates with a dizzy pace that has the reader hanging on to every sentence until it ‘slams’ to a stop!

This is a story that can be enjoyed by junior and intermediate students!
Highly Recommended!
FIVE STARS!!

 

[ARC supplied by Orca Book Publishers in exchange for an honest review]

 

 


Tin Soldier by Sigmund Brouwer

September 12, 2014

Tin SoldierTin Soldier  by Sigmund Brouwer

248p., c2014 [Seven Sequel Series ]

ARC generously supplied by D. Sutherland, Orca

Publisher:  Orca Book Publisher, Vancouver, BC

 

Tin Soldier is Sigmund Brouwer’s exciting sequel to his nominated Seven Series book, Devil’s Pass.

We first encounter Jim Webb in Devil’s Pass and now the mystery only deepens surrounding his grandfather’s perplexing past.

A chance discovery at the ‘family’ cabin in Northern Ontario, sets the scene for each of the cousins. An accidental tug dislodging an old notebook filled with baffling objects and a paper printed with the faded words “You are a traitor. You deserve to die!” spurs all cousins into action.

With guitar, passport and American money in hand, Webb begins his journey searching into his Grandfather’s mysterious exploits.

Brouwer’s narrative is an action-packed mystery, teeming with historical detail that references the Vietnam War and dog tags, the Civil Rights Movement, classic movies and songs, but does not hamper the storyline.

In some respects,  this venture through a volatile part of American history mirrors Webb’s own inner turmoil.

Though Tin Soldier is part of the Seven Sequel series, this exciting read can easily stand alone and will engage readers of both genders!

Recommended for Intermediate and Senior Grades

 

 


Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson

March 27, 2014
A gripping, suspensful adventure set in the rugged landscape of Alaska

A gripping, suspensful adventure set in the rugged landscape of Alaska

 

 

 

Ice dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Boston/New York

279p. c2012

Cover by: Cliff Nielson & Sheila Smallwood Genre: Adventure; Realistic Fiction

Grade level: intermediate ( Grade 8; Grade 9)

 

 

Grit and determination have 14 year old dog musher, Victoria, practicing and running dog-sled races in order to qualify in the famed White  Wolf Classic. However, a sudden impulsive action of defiance, sees Victoria harnessing her dog team and travelling cross country to choose a top lead sled dog.

Trained by her father in the art of wilderness survival, she packs her sled for the day trip and mushed her team forward. It is during this trek she comes upon a lone and injured snowmobiler and is thrust into the uncomfortable role of rescuer. The injured person turns out to be a boy close to her in age and rapid changes in weather conditions force her to seek shelter and tend to the stranger’s injuries.

Vicky realizes that this is one circumstance her beloved father hadn’t prepared her for. A chain of unexpected events unfolds and now teens and dogs find themselves fighting for survival in a race against time in the unpredictable Alaskan environment.

A gripping, suspenseful debut novel by Canadian author, Terry Lynn Johnson, is filled with rich detail and suspense.

Where a young woman’s inner resources and strength are tested time and again, in the ruggedly beautiful harsh landscape that is Alaska.

A story where all are heroes.

A tale that will engage readers until the end!

 

Highly recommended!

 

 

 

 


Blood Brothers in Louisbourg by Philip Roy

March 7, 2014

blood-brothers  Blood brothers in Louisbourg  by Philip Roy
Published by Cape Breton University Press; c2012
137 p,

  Genre: Canadian historical fiction ; First Nations history

Alternating chapters gives the reader a dual perspective to two time lines that are on an intersecting course  unknown to the central characters — Jacques and Two-feathers.
During the reign of King Louis XV, a young French educated teen, suddenly finds himself ripped from the fabric of all that is familiar. He sets sail on a ship bound to New France into the unknown, with a father he hardly knows.
Arriving at Fortress Louisbourg, young Jacques dons an ill-fitting uniform and is thrust into the harsh, unforgiving military world that his father idolizes.
At a similar moment in time, in the untamed wilderness surrounding the Fortress, a young Mi’kmaq warrior called Two-feathers is on his own quest to find the father he never met.

This is the story of two young men – “both seeking to understand their father” unknowingly linked by the bonds of their heritage.

Mr. Roy has created a moving historical tale that touches on a part of Canada’s past that is often overlooked — observations from both inhabitants – those ‘discovering’ Canada and from the First Nations.

It is an engaging story that can be used as a read aloud as it ties in with the school curriculum and can spark many debates and /or discussions within the classroom!

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Grade Level: Grade 7 -9
Interest level: Grade 6-9

Highly recommended!