Monthly Archives: May 2009

Ghosts of Haunting Pasts [Ghost for Rent by Penny Lockwood] Book Review

Ghost for Rent

 

 

Eleven year-old Wendy Wiles’ world seems to be crumbling all around her. Her parents are talking divorce, she has to move away from her beloved modern city apartment to a broken down old-fashioned farmhouse in the country, and her brother, Mike…well, he just loves to get on her case and constantly tease her like older brothers sometimes do. Just as Wendy thinks things can’t possibly get worse, mysterious things begin to happen.

Her new best friend, Jennifer, tells her the old dilapidated house they moved into is haunted! Strange things are happening everywhere and Wendy isn’t the only one seeing weird sights. Strange music fills the air and a sudden gust of wind has leaves swirling into ghostly human shapes that dance about; a shimmery vision of a young boy dressed in old fashioned clothes plays a haunting melody on the piano, and a young woman’s face that appears in the mirror are all clues to the mystery that must be solved.  Mike, Wendy and Jennifer dig through old library records on their quest to unravel the truth about what happened at that old house so many years ago. The clues slowly begin to fit together to unlock the secrets hidden in the murky past when a mysterious skeleton key suddenly appears to confirm the rest of the mystery.

This spine-tingling paranormal is a great read for kids aged 9-12. This is a page-turner that will keep them engaged beginning till end.

 

GHOST FOR RENT

By Penny Lockwood

 

Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory

Genre: Paranormal

ISBN: 0-7599-0340-9 trade paperback

           0-7599-0337-9 e-book

Paperback: 65 pages

Recommended for Ages:  9-12

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Filed under Mid-Grade, Paranormal, Tween, Writing

“Nothing’s ever what you think it will be.” [The Seer by G. Clifton Wisler] Book Review

The SeerScott Childers appears to be a normal 14 year old, trying with all his might to fit in. Problem is, Scott has a secret he desperately wants to hide…and it’s a whopper. He is actually an alien from another planet with the power to travel through time, to plant thoughts into someone’s mind, and to see things before they actually happen. Scott is a Seer.

The Seer, by G. Clifton Wisler, is an action packed adventure that follows a lonely teen, forced into the life of a wanderer, never quite belonging anywhere, or able to stay in a place too long, for fear of his secret being discovered leading to his capture as a possible dangerous alien. He is accompanied in this lonely life by a strange little man, Tiaf, his teacher and companion from his home planet. Although Scott is an Antrian by birth, Earth is the only home he has ever known. Tiaf spent his life among other telepaths and seers and had been taught all the mysteries before their home planet became the victim of a super-nova. They are the last of the ancient race that sped through space looking for a new planet to call home.

Scott had always thought of his ability to see into the near future as a curse but came to realize his special talent was a gift. He could not understand why he would have these visions if he wasn’t meant to help those around him – even though this interference would threaten to expose his secret. This gift came with a lot of responsibility. It was a lonely life, always being on guard to keep his secret hidden meant moving…a lot.

This fast paced tale is filled with adventure and suspense that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat waiting to see what will happen next.

 

THE SEER

By G. Clifton Wisler 

Publisher: Lodestar Books

Genre: Science Fiction

ISBN: 978-0525672623

Hardback: 134 pages

Recommended for Ages:  9 – 12

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Wizarding Genesis [The Lost Years of Merlin book 1 by TA Barron] Book Review

Lost Years of MerlinThe Lost Years of Merlin is the initial installment of the five book series chronicling Merlin’s life as a boy, a prequel to Arthurian legend. It follows the ambiguous details of Emry’s obscure youth and the path he followed leading to the emergence of his magic and the wizarding name he proclaimed of Merlin. Barron’s imagineering of this portion of the great wizard’s life gives new depth to the renowned character as we see his life through the eyes of a young boy.

 The story opens with a dream sequence foreshadowing a time magic escaped his fingertips to unleash a fire kindled in Branwen’s defense (the woman claiming to be his mother) the very fire whose flames took his sight leaving him blind until he learned to use his gift of “second sight”.

 Emrys, now 12, is desperate to know of his past and why he has no memory of a time before five years ago when he and Branwen washed upon the shore. She claimed to be his mother but would not speak of their past or where they came from. Instead she taught him the lore of the Celts, Druids and those more ancient. She felt his lost memory was a blessing, the young boy considered it more of a curse. The pair shared a lowly hut they constructed themselves on the outskirts of a small village. Whenever anyone from the village was ill or injured, they would come to Branwen bartering for her services as a gifted healer as she was well acquainted with the old ways and herbal remedies. When in need of her services the villagers sang praises to her unique talents, but the truth of the matter was, they were afraid and thought her to be a sorceress or demon. One day the village bully came to their hut and set fire in an attempt to free the village of this “she-demon”, as he and two of his minions grabbed Branwen by the legs and began dragging her into the fire, Emrys’ fear and rage swelled within, coursing and raging as he ran forward trying to help his mother. He could not control it any longer and felt the bully, Dinatius, should burn for this. He could envision the fires and wished they would consume the bully. At the thought, an enormous tree branch shuddered and cracked as if struck by lightening; it fell upon the young bully trapping him as the branches exploded into flames. As the spine shivering shrieks erupted from the inferno Emrys knew what he had done as he plunged into the flames trying to save the boy. His dream vision had come to pass.

 As the young half-blind Emrys struggles to learn the secrets of his past, the magic within him, and his true identity he comes to the realization he must leave this place, returning to the place he had washed upon the shore to make the attempt to voyage back to the mist-shrouded isle of Fincayra, an enchanted isle that lies between earth and sky. He asks the woman who calls herself his mother to join him in his quest. With great sadness she declines, but takes a jeweled pendant from her neck, presenting it to him. She calls it the Galator and tells him its power is great – if it cannot keep him safe it is only because nothing outside of heaven can. Mighty waves crashed over his feeble raft tossing it about as a mere twig on the outraged sea. The storm swelled and he thought about calling upon his powers to save him but after the last fiery encounter with his magic, he became less afraid of the violent storm than trying to unleash a magic he might not be able to control. The waves pounded over him and when he felt he could hold onto his little wooden raft no more the mysterious shrouded isle appeared and he is again washed upon the shore.

 As he comes to and regains a bit of strength he ventures further into the strange land. The colors are so vivacious he can sense them, even through his half-blinded eyes. He can feel the plushness of the forest floor and he meets a merlin, its wing broken in battle with a rat, a strange girl of the forest called Rhia, and a tiny but brave giant named Shim. Emrys discovers that blight has come upon the isle that is somehow entwined with his own destiny.  He must decipher the riddle of the dance of the giants to change the fate of this land and discover the secrets within himself.

 This is an engaging and enjoyable tale you will want to experience many times over. It explains the roots of the greatest wizard of legend and myth in an epic saga filled with wonder and adventure.

 

THE LOST YEARS OF MERLIN (book 1)

By TA Barron

Publisher: Philomel

Genre: Juvenile Fantasy

ISBN: 978-0399250200

Hardback:  336 pages

Recommended for Ages:  9-12

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Where Do Ideas Come From? [The Lost Lake Dig by PW Cross] Book Review

lost-lake-dig 

 

 

Have you ever wondered where ideas come from? This creative tale explains exactly that. It was 1750 on a hot summer day at the swimming hole when Joey first met the strange little man called Frendric. The adventure begins in a parallel universe with a portal right behind Joey’s house where an idea vent was zealously erupting in glowing balls called squirts (small ideas) and gushers (larger ideas).

Frendric is one of the dwarves that mines the ideas. The problem he is faced with is bringing in a large gusher. These gushers are a bit too much for the miners to handle, driving them to insanity, and that is why they need help from a young human – one still innocent enough to be able to see their world and help get the gusher back safely so the ideas can be harvested and get to the human for whom they are intended. Adults, as in many fantasy stories, no longer have the innocence and purity needed for such a task. Young Joey agrees to help them on their quest as long as he can bring his dog, Lady, along and if they want to leave and come back home they are permitted to do so. The dwarves readily agree. As Joey first encounters their world he makes a happy discovery. His best friend Ben (who has recently moved away) has also been asked to join the quest. The boys are thrilled to be together again and eagerly agree to help the dwarves mine the ideas so they can safely be brought into the human world.

There are a couple of elements about this book that make it very special. The story takes place in 1750 which is only important as having a time of historical reference for some of the ideas that have been mined and some they see that glimpse a more current era. Secondly, by giving the dwarves very specific jobs (winders, seers, finders diggers) in the mining and revealing some of the ideas they have discovered, the readers are being presented with some unique learning experiences in a very creative way. This is to be greatly commended.

This story is a wonderful fantasy adventure that leaves the reader anxiously anticipating a sequel.

THE LOST LAKE DIG

By PW Cross

 

Publisher: Appalachian House

Genre: Juvenile Fantasy

ISBN: 978-0966280081  

Paperback: 288 pages

Recommended for ages 9-12

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