Mundie Moms

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Review: I Am (Not) The Walrus by Ed Briant

Published by: Flux
Released on: July 8th, 2012
Source: book from publisher to review/blog tour
3.5 stars: It's A Good Read
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
Toby and Zack’s first gig could make or break their Beatles cover band, the Nowhere Men. But ever since getting dumped by his girlfriend, lead singer Toby can’t quite pull off the Beatles’ feel-good vibe. When Toby finds a note hidden inside his brother’s bass claiming the instrument was stolen, he embarks on a quest to find the true owner—and hopes a girl named Michelle will help him recover his lost mojo along the way. - quoted from the publisher's site
Being a huge Beatles fan, I was really intrigued with this book's storyline and the role music played in it. It's not often you come across a YA book that is centered on music, and incorporates the music of one of the best musical groups of all times. Not only that, I love that this book is a modern day contemporary with a good male voice and is set in London. I enjoyed the authenticity of the story, and reading about that UK slang I've heard so much about. For me, the musical element of this story is what sold me on reading this book, and I think it's going to be a key element in getting teen readers to pick this book up, as they'll be able to relate to the huge role that music plays in the characters's lives, as well as their own.
I Am (Not) The Walrus is the story of Toby, a teen who's recently moved from London to another party England in hopes of his struggling, single mom finding a better job. I liked the role Toby's Mum played in his life. She wasn't an absentee parent, but someone who worked hard to provide for her son, and treated him with the respect he deserved. I liked their relationship, as it is an open and honest one. It was refreshing for me to read about their relationship and to have a parent have a good presence in this story. With is older brother away in the military, Toby takes full advantage of his deployment and uses his bass and other musical equipment he's left behind. This bass ultimately leads him on a crazy adventure that includes a valuable lesson in friendship, and of course the inspiration from a few Beatles songs. 
When Toby discovers a note in his brother's bass, it leads him on a wild adventure to find who the bass belongs to, that is, if the note claiming it was stolen is indeed true. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this book's storyline, and dialogue. It wasn't a fast paced read, but one that just flowed perfectly, and kept me invested in the story the entire time. It's seriously one of those fun reads that you can't help, but laugh out loud numerous times while reading it. Plus how can you not love a guy who has a few mishaps and makes you cheer for him in hopes that he can get the girl, and get to the bottom of the bass mystery. I also enjoyed getting to read about Toby's loyal friend and fellow bandmate, Zach. These two have a fabulous chemistry that's witty, hysterical and real. These two kept me entertained the entire time I read this book. I loved how their differences made their friendship that much stronger. 
With a mix of friendship, a tiny bit of romance and a lot of music, I Am (Not) The Walrus is a good read I'd recommend picking up! Don't miss my guest post & giveaway with Ed HERE.

Must Have Middle Grade Reads

Welcome to this week's edition of Must Have Middle Grade Reads, a weekly feature here on Mundie Moms where I spotlight last week's middle grade books I reviewed on Mundie Kids

Illustrated by: Joe Bluhm
Published by: Simon & Schuster Kids
Released on: June 19th, 2012
5 stars: A Must Have!
Purchase fromSimon & Schuster | Amazon |Barnes & Noble

The book that inspired the Academy Awardwinning short film, from New York Timesbestselling author and beloved visionary William Joyce. 

Morris Lessmore loved words.He loved stories.He loved books.
But every story has its upsets.
Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds.     But the power of story will save the day.     

Stunningly brought to life by William Joyce, one of the preeminent creators in children’s literature,The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a modern masterpiece, showing that in today’s world of traditional books, eBooks, and apps, it’s story that we truly celebrate—and this story, no matter how you tell it, begs to be read again and again -quoted from Goodreads

This picture book deserves the same praise I have only said one other time this year, which is, if there's only 1 picture book you're able to pick up this year THIS IS THE ONE! William Joyce is one of my favorite children's storytellers and illustrators. His talent for creating imaginative worlds, and his brilliant story telling goes beyond introducing children to the limitless possibilities of imagination. As an adult he reminds me of that excitement I first felt when I was a child and was introduced to the amazing world of reading, and with it, the countless places and worlds each book took me to. The story of Mr. Morris Lessmore's story is no different.

You can read the rest of my 5 star review here.

Released on: July 10th, 2012
5 stars: I Loved It!
Series: The Goddess Girls book #10
The first-ever standalone superspecial in the Goddess Girls series—let the games begin!Athena, Medusa, Artemis, and Persephone are sick and tired of being left out of the annual boys-only Olympic Games. Their solution? The Girl Games! But as the Goddess Girls work to make their dream into a reality, they come up against plenty of chaos and competition. Told in alternating points of view, this superspecial is packed with Olympic spirit!

Just in time for the Summer Olympics in London, fans of The Goddess Girls will love diving into this special summer hit!

What could be more exciting to the Goddess Girls series than a book that focuses on Olympic style games for the girls. Though this new release is a stand alone, fans of this series will be sure to enjoy every moment of this exciting story line. Told from alternating points of views, this story stays true to everything I have loved about this series and introduces some new characters and fun twists. Read my full review  here.

Published by: Razorbill
To Be Released on: August 21st, 2012
3 stars: A Good Read
Pre-Order from: Amazon Barnes & Noble

A deliciously spooky middle-grade debut that's Coraline meets Hansel and GretelLorelei is bowled over by Splendid Academy--Principal Trapp encourages the students to run in the hallways, the classrooms are stocked with candy dishes, and the cafeteria serves lavish meals featuring all Lorelei's favorite foods. But the more time she spends at school, the more suspicious she becomes. Why are her classmates growing so chubby? And why do the teachers seem so sinister?

It's up to Lorelei and her new friend Andrew to figure out what secret this supposedly splendid school is hiding. What they discover chills their bones--and might even pick them clean!

Mix one part magic, one part mystery, and just a dash of Grimm, and you've got the recipe for a cozy-creepy read that kids will gobble up like candy. -quoted from Goodreads

The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is a good, dark middle grade read with a fabulous mix of fairy tales and folklore, The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy takes readers on an unforgettable adventure, and introduces them to a world that's just as enticing as the one Hansel and Gretel are in. This story is a little darker than some of your average MG books, but it's still none the less one that some children will enjoy reading. One of the things I liked about this book is the way in which author Nikki Loftin was able to tackle some tougher subject middle grade and adult readers can relate to, while still giving her story a fun, paranormal twists to it. I really admire an author who's able to mix both realistic emotions and circumstances with those of make believe, and make it realistic. 

You can read the rest of my review here.

Published by: M&S Publishing
Released on: April 3rd, 2012
3 stars
Purchase from:  Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble
View the book trailer HERE

The Riverton family had been enjoying a simple summer vacation when, through a fluke of nature, they found themselves in a strange new land. The Riverton brothers quickly realize that in this world, they have gained unusual powers. Powers that their parents fear will attract the attention of Azazel himself - the merciless wizard who brutally controls this world.

The two brothers soon learn that an ancient prophecy has finally been initiated by their arrival in Trimoria. As the heirs of this prophecy, they are destined to lead the armies of men, dwarves, elves, and even a misfit ogre against the prophesied demon horde.Only one thing stands in their way. The evil wizard who has learned of their presence, and has sent assassins to wipe them from existence. -quoted from Goodreads

Fans of fantasy will enjoy this new series from Michael Rothman. Packed with adventure, plenty of fantasy elements, and an age appropriate romance, readers of all ages will enjoy this new magical journey into a land unlike any other.

Released on: August 1st, 2012
3 Stars: It's A Good Read
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The TOOLS OF PROPHECY is the second volume in an epic saga which describes a prophecy that has placed the Riverton brothers in the lead roles of a struggle to save their world from being overrun by unspeakable horrors. This destiny requires that they face off with the demons that nearly destroyed their world over five centuries ago.

In the first book, the population of wizards had been practically eradicated by the former tyrant. The Rivertons are now charged with creating an Academy of Magic, recruiting qualified students, and furthering their own training with secrets that have long been held by the reclusive elves.

Despite their youth, a mysterious spirit has engaged them in an epic struggle to gain mastery of their newfound skills, help raise and train two armies, and stay alive long enough for their final showdown with destiny.

The only things that stand in their way are the assassins hired to destroy them and the Demon Lord’s minion who holds a personal grudge and intends to witness the young boys’ deaths -quoted from Goodreads

Picking up right where Heirs of Prophecy left off, Michael Rothman whisks readers right back into the Riverton's brother's world of magic, danger, suspense and adventure. Much of what I enjoyed with book one rings true with book two. The brothers are older teens, a bit more mature and very skilled in the ways of their new home, and in harnessing their unique powers. They're still young and still have a lot to learn, but I liked seeing how much they're grown and continue to grow and learn as the series continues. I love it when a series picks up right where the previous book leaves off, and cuts right to the chase with what's going on. Michael does a fabulous job at recapping some of the first book's events,  and does so without spending doing so. It just enough to re-engage the reader incase they've forgotten what has happened previously.

You can read my 3 star review for both books here.

Speaking of William Joyce, I am so EXCITED about this upcoming movie based on his MG series, Rise Of the Guardians. This series is a MUST read! This year, these books are coming to life on the big screen thanks to Dreamworks! Check out the two official trailers for this movie. And yes, you might recognize a few of those voices, as there's a star studded cast of actors who lent their voices for this movie like Hugh Jackman & Jude Law.

Middle Grade Monday:
Don't miss my Marvelous Middle Grade Monday meme on Mundie Kids, a weekly meme hosted by author Shannon Messenger's. You can check out this week's Mundie Kids feature here

Mundane Monday #146

Happy Monday!

Reparations,” said Jem very suddenly, setting down the pen he was holding.

Will looked at him in puzzlement. “Is this a game? We just blurt out whatever word comes next to mind? In that case mine is ‘genuphobia’. It means an unreasonable fear of knees.”

“What’s the word for a perfectly reasonable fear of annoying idiots?” inquired Jessamine.

- Clockwork Prince, Jem, Will & Jessamine