Book review: Look out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts by Esta Spalding

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  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Price: $16.99 US/$18.00 CAN
  • Pages: 256
  • Physical Dimensions: 5-1/4″ x 7-5/8″
  • ISBN-13: 9780316298582
  • On Sale Date: 05/10/2016

Book Description: Kim Fitzgerald-Trout took to driving with ease–as most children would if their parents would ever let them try. She had to. After all, she and her siblings live in a car.

Meet the Fitzgerald-Trouts, a band of four loosely related children living together in a lush tropical island. They take care of themselves. They sleep in their car, bathe in the ocean, eat fish they catch and fruit they pick, and can drive anywhere they need to go–to the school, the laundromat, or the drive-in. If they put their minds to it, the Fitzgerald-Trouts can do anything. Even, they hope, find a real home.

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Chapters/Indigo 

a77b9ac53833054b21144ca95cec1584Meet the author:  Esta Spalding is an a celebrated writer, poet and screenwriter who has garnered awards for her film and television work, as well as for her prose and poetry. Among these, she adapted Kate Atkinson’s novel Life After Life for Lionsgate Films and Jennifer Egan’s novel A Visit from the Goon Squad for Sundance Television.

This novel marks her debut on the children’s literature scene.

Connect with the author:   goodreads

 

REVIEW:

This book brought back so many memories of a story I read as a child.  It was part of a Reader’s Digest Condensed book and was about a family who lived in their car close to a beach.  I never forgot that story.

The Fitzgerald-Trout children are not your typical family set of siblings.  They are all related, in a manner of speaking.  Abandoned by their (many sets of) parents, the four children live together on the beach in a car.  They get up in the morning, brush their teeth, go to school and even go to the laundromat to do their laundry.  Realistic huh?  Not really. But that doesn’t matter because you’re not a grown-up reading this book.  You’re a 10 year old.  And to a 10 year old – this rocks!

A sweet and fun story with a few plot twists to keep you interested right until the very end. I would recommend this sweet story as a bedtime storybook.

 

 

 

 

Book review: KIDNAP – Part 1 of Guy Erma & The Son of Empire by Sally Ann Melia

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Book Description:

I don’t want to go… Do I have to go?

13-year-old Prince Teodor of Freyne knows his duty to the memory of his father and his kingdom. Always, he must help those less fortunate than himself. Yet a frightening nightmare fills him with foreboding, but still he must do – into the Dome.

13-year-old Guy Erma lives in the shadow of the Dome, he has no father and no mother and his future is uncertain, he must start earning a living when he turns 14. He knows not where he will live or even how he will eat, and his only dream is to enter the military academy – at the heart of the Dome.

Two boys as different as any two boys might be. One act of cruelty will throw their lives together, but who dare they trust?

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Meet the Author:  The author was born in Wallasey, England, in 1964, and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitan city state of Monaco and became immersed in its many languages and cultures. An English girl in a French school, for three hours each week she would sit at the back of the class as her colleagues learnt English. To pass the time, she wrote stories. This led to a lifetime of writing novels, scripts, stories and articles.In her working life, Sally writes marketing communications and manages large international websites.In 2010, Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers, a club located on the outskirts of Guildford, and she set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire. Sally currently lives in Farnham, and she is married with two children.

Connect with Sally:     Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barns & Noble

Review:

Two young men from contrasting backgrounds, the first, Guy Erma, an aspiring dome guard and the second, Teodor the heir to the throne of Freyne live in very different circles.  Yet, they will soon discover that their paths will cross and they will need each other to stay alive.  The Prince and the Pauper meet up in a parallel universe of high fashion, giant cats and cy-sects. (and a really cute alien girl!)

This intriguing sci-fi novel by Sally Ann Melia is my first real forage into the young adult sci-fi genre.  The story was incredibly detailed, the characters well-developed and the story line nail-biting exciting!

What I really liked in this first part of the Guy Erma trilogy were the illustrations of some of the main characters as well as a small drawing of the Dome itself.  I look forward to part 2 of this trilogy – Hunter!

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Book review: HUNTER – Part 2 of Guy Erma & The Son of Empire by Sally Ann Melia

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Book Description:

13-year-old Teodor was taken by the vicious Battle Borgs of Dome and now he must fight to survive.

13-year-old Guy Erma has been offered a chance to fight for his place in the Dome Elite. Only who will be his opponent? Will he face a Battle Borg of Dome?

Once they were heroes. These men died as heroes in battle. Now they have been reincarnated as the fearsome vanguard of the Dome Elite. They are the Battle Borgs of Dome

Two boys as different as any two boys might be. They face the same enemy, the same danger, the same fear -dare they trust each other?

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Meet the Author:  The author was born in Wallasey, England, in 1964, and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitan city state of Monaco and became immersed in its many languages and cultures. An English girl in a French school, for three hours each week she would sit at the back of the class as her colleagues learnt English. To pass the time, she wrote stories. This led to a lifetime of writing novels, scripts, stories and articles.In her working life, Sally writes marketing communications and manages large international websites.In 2010, Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers, a club located on the outskirts of Guildford, and she set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire. Sally currently lives in Farnham, and she is married with two children.

Connect with Sally:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest

Buy the book:  Amazon 

Review:

In part two of Guy Erma and the Son of Empire, Sayginn, Regent of Freyne, Teodor’s mother, enlists the aid of ally Karl Valvanchi, a Zaracan warrior of Sas Dorana to find her kidnapped son. Sayginn, as Queen Regent, is expected to marry the Emperor in order to form an alliance and produce heirs for the empire. Despite the fact that they come from different worlds and look completely different from each other, Sayginn and Karl form an unexpected bond of trust and are able to read each other’s thoughts. With their combined telepathy they know that Theodor is alive but have no idea of his condition or whereabouts.

Together with Guy Erma “who spins like the wind and bites like a goran”, they put together a rescue mission. The mission is dangerous, as they must face live Battle Borgs, half men-half-machines who obey without conscience. As hostages, both Guy and Teodor, both highly skilled athletes and students in combat are pitted against each other to figh to the death. Guy is given the command to kill as Prince Teodor must be removed as heir. Guy must obey.

This incredible story continues with the same amount of vivid imagery and description as the first segement, Kidnap. Different storylines begin to blend together and we find ourselves cheering for both Guy and Teodor.

Although I enjoy watching sci-fi and fantasy films, I am completely new to reading these genres. This complex story had me a bit befuddled at the beginning but as I continued reading on everything fell into place. Looking forward to part 3 – Exile.

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Book Review: Guy Erma & the Son of Empire by Sally Ann Melia

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Book Description:

The story starts with a boy:
“I don’t want to go, mum.”
“You must…”
How long can a mother regret the last words to her son?

This story is a space opera adventure and a kidnap thriller… A young prince is kidnapped, a galactic Empire in peril for the Prince has fallen into the hands of the ruthless yet charismatic Chart Segat, a populist politician, he is also head of the crack space warriors: the Dome Elite.

Teodor’s mother, Regent Sayginn of Freyne 2 will use every resource at her disposal: military might, security surveillance, battle cyborgs and insider intelligence to find her son. She will call on the Valvanchi, the telepathic shape shifting aliens to free him … The only question is can they get to the Prince in time?
Meanwhile in the shadow of the Dome, living a life of desperate poverty is another boy: 13-year-old Guy Erma. His only dream is to join the Dome Elite, and the only way he can do that is by ‘doing whatever Chart Segat says. ’ Whatever he says!’

A tightly plotted thriller, Guy Erma and the Son of Empire is a complex space opera with a cracking science fiction storyline, told with verve and pace.

The book will delight those who love • Science Fiction • Space Operas • Star Wars style Adventures • Galactic Empire stories • Young Adult Science Fiction • Young Adult Space Opera • Young Adult Thrillers • Young Adult Action Adventure

And is inspired by the works of • George Lucas • JJ Abrams • Steven Spielberg • J R R Tolkien • Frank Herbert • Iain M Banks • Peter F Hamilton

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Meet the Author:  The author was born in Wallasey, England, in 1964, and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitan city state of Monaco and became immersed in its many languages and cultures. An English girl in a French school, for three hours each week she would sit at the back of the class as her colleagues learnt English. To pass the time, she wrote stories. This led to a lifetime of writing novels, scripts, stories and articles.In her working life, Sally writes marketing communications and manages large international websites.In 2010, Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers, a club located on the outskirts of Guildford, and she set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire. Sally currently lives in Farnham, and she is married with two children.

Connect with Sally:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barns & Noble

Review:

I’m new to the sci-fi genre and didn’t know what to expect when I began to read this story. The storyline immediately pulled me in but I became temporarily confused when two other story lines began to develop. I hung in there because I could see that the characters were being developed.

The three stories begin to blend together and we have an intriguing and exciting adventure. There is Guy, an orphan but very talented student whose desire is to join the Dome Elite. There is also Karl Valvanchi, a Zaracan warrior and shape-shifter from Sas Daron and finally Prince Regent Theodor from Freyne 2, whose empire is under threat. The manner in which these three characters are brought together shows depth and, although there were a lot of details, with time they added to the richness of the plot.

I enjoyed the book because it was exciting, fast paced and an intelligent read. It was written for young adults but any mature person would certainly enjoy it. I look forward to the next installment!

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Book review: Donkey’s Kite by Liana-Melissa Allen

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Book Description:

The three horses Jack, Max, Lax and their friend Donkey are back!

In Horse Valley, it’s a perfect day to go kite flying. Jack, Max, Lax, and Donkey decide to get creative by putting together their own homemade kites. However, Donkey’s kite doesn’t work. No matter how hard he tries to get it to fly, it just keeps tumbling to the ground. How will poor Donkey get his kite to fly? A friendly goose named Gusty is delighted to help him out.

In this Horse Valley Adventure, Donkey learns not to give up when all seems hopeless. The friends all learn a lesson about helping others and true friendship.

Buy the book:     Website  –   Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author:  

Liana-Melissa Allen is a young author and illustrator of children’s books and books for youth. She has written, illustrated and published six books. Her most recent one is the colorfully illustrated children’s book “Donkey’s Kite”, the second book of “A Horse Valley Adventure” series. The first was “The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey”. The lovable cartoon characters, Max, Lax, Jack and Donkey makes them a favorite of first and second grade students. She is now working on her third book of “A Horse Valley Adventure”.The magical world of fantasy has inspired Liana’s imagination since as long as she can remember. Part of this was fueled by her dad reading aloud to her every day when she was younger. As a result, reading is her primary passion along with music. These two passions feed her imagination into stories and drawings, which she joyously sketches out into storyboards for a potential book.

Liana-Melissa is also a dedicated classical/jazz pianist, and mostly enjoys older music, especially from the big band era and the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. While playing the piano, her imagination often leads to a great amount of improvising. Frequently, Liana will improvise a theme for one of the stories she is writing. Capturing this improvised music became a priority, which ultimately resulted in theme music for “A Horse Valley Adventure”. The “Horse Valley” theme will be used for a short animated video featuring her Horse Valley characters.Liana-Melissa loves to hear from her young readers.

Liana-Melissa loves to hear from her young readers. Please visit her website at www.lmabooks.com for more information, and to contact her by email. Visit her on Facebook too.

Review:

Donkey’s Kite is an engaging account of four friends who want to enjoy a day of kite-flying.  They all seem lost in their own little worlds, however, and fail to notice that donkey can’t build a kite very well.  In the end, after help from a friendly goose, Donkey has rebuilt his kite successfully and all is well.

The book is written in a friendly tone, especially to be read aloud.  There are different lessons in this book, namely, cooperation, taking an interest in others and the small-mindedness of bullying.  The illustrations are simple, the expressions of their faces delightful and I love the little bird in almost every picture, especially reading the newspaper.  So cute!

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Book Review: Aoleon The Martian Girl: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Saga – Part 4: Illegal Aliens, written and illustrated by Brent LeVasseur

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Book Description:

Aoleon and Gilbert have become the Luminon’s top priority in stopping the Martian resistance movement, and after being chased by the Royal Paladin Guard, they are forced to flee the Martian Megalopolis. Aoléon, Gilbert and Zoot escape with the help of Bizwat and his newly found friend, Helios, a first generation soldierbot.

After their saucer is destroyed, they crash land somewhere in the deep Martian desert, and they set out to locate Kyrios and the secret base where Aoleon’s parents are being held captive.

After battling the forces of nature, starvation, a Klyklon dust storm, (and not to mention a giant slor that almost swallows them alive), they finally make it to their destination. However, after Kyrios gives Gilbert some basic training to develop his budding psionic power, they learn that their journey is far from over.

Will Aoléon, Glbert, Bizwat, Helios, and Zoot be able to rescue Aoleon’s parents and stop the Martian invasion of Earth in time?

Brent LeVasseurAbout Brent:  Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

Connect with Brent:    website    twitter    facebook   themartiangirl.com
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You can buy  Aoléon The Martian Girl – Part 3 here:   Amazon

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Book Trailer

Review:

Aoleon and Gilbert are on a dangerous mission to rescue her parents, a seemingly impossible task.  Even Bizwat is discouraged by the difficulty of their undertaking.  Their spaceship is blown up and well, you gotta read the rest yourself!

Part four of Aoleon’s adventure is by far the goofiest!    Here are some of my favourite quotes:  “Go ahead. Make my millennium”, “we stand an excellent chance of catching the Martians with their cheeks in the wind” and “this guy is not firing on all nanoprocessors.”

There is still loads of adventure and excitement (by the way DON’T pick the flowers in the desert) as well as a fair bit of cheekiness pointed at the, ahem, “powers that be” (it’s all in good fun though!). The picture of the White House Situation Room was really cool!  There weren’t as many pictures in this segment, and some parts of the story were a little hard to grasp because of the technical explanations.  But there’s a lot to tickle your funny bone!

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Book Review: Aoleon The Martian Girl: Science Fiction Saga – Part 3 – The Hollow Moon by Brent LeVasseur

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Book Description:

Spying on the Luminon, Aoléon and Gilbert uncover his plot to steal Earth’s milk cows and make the disturbing discovery that the Martian leader plans to disrupt Mars’s galact supply. The duo races to warn Aoléon’s father, Deimos, a manager at the galactworks, before the Luminon’s saboteur can act.

While still on the run, Aoléon takes her pilot’s exam so she can join the Martian intergalactic exploration fleet. However, during the test-run, something goes horribly wrong. The two are put in a life-threatening situation and only Bizwat, Aoléon’s Procyon commando friend, can save them.

Gilbert finally gets his chance to learn to skyboard, but the lesson turns into a test of skill as he and Aoléon are chased by the Royal Paladin Guard.

Will they survive?

Brent LeVasseurAbout Brent:  Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

Connect with Brent:    website    twitter    facebook   themartiangirl.com
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You can buy  Aoléon The Martian Girl – Part 3 here:   Amazon

Review:

“So what’s ECCLBT?  It is a technical term we use in the Martian special forces. It means, ‘Extra-CrispyCritter-Lizard-Barbecue-Time’”.  You get the picture?  Aoleon and Gilbert find themselves in more hair-raising adventures including explosions, psionic gun blasts, and a hideous drooling monster. This segment of the Aoleon the Martian Girl series is action packed with great characters, including an pizza guy who loves to come to their rescue.

The story is riveting and once again, I found myself at a cliff-hanger.  The multiple layers in the images added depth to the story line and the beautiful colours and textures gave it an otherworldly feel (more pictures please Brent).  I kept smiling at the funny expressions such as ““If Aoléon’s ability for finding trouble could somehow be captured, you would have a weapon of mass destruction so deadly that not even bacteria would survive”.

I look forward to Part Four!

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Book Review: Aoleon The Martian Girl: Science Fiction Saga – Part 2 – The Luminess of Mars by Brent LeVasseur

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Book Description:

Aoléon and Gilbert receive a special mission from PAX, a wanted criminal and leader of the Martian resistance movement to investigate the Luminon of Mars, who he suspects is planning an invasion of Earth to steal its milk cows. Gilbert has an encounter with the Luminess (the mate of the Luminon) and discovers something strange about her during a procession, and the duo are chased by the Royal Paladin Guard.

Gilbert has an encounter with the Luminess (the mate of the Luminon) and discovers something strange about her during a procession, and the duo are chased by the Royal Paladin Guard.At Aoléon’s home, Gilbert meets Aoléon’s family, her sister Una, mother Phobos and father Deimos as well as her overzealous pet Zoot. He is also introduced to Bizwat, a covert operator and Procyon Commando, who uses his Saturn Pizza delivery job as a cover.

Gilbert then gets to visit the Martian Space Academy (Aoléon’s school) where he encounters Aoléon’s nemesis, Charm Lepton and her friend Quarkina, as well as receiving a history lesson on the Martian people by Plutarch Xenocrates. After class, Gilbert and Aoléon get to train in zero-G and Gilbert is treated to a Psi-ball match between Martian Space Academy and Martian Science Academy.

Brent LeVasseurAbout Brent:  Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

Connect with Brent:    website    twitter    facebook   themartiangirl.com
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Review:

Absoludicrous!  Aoleon is a really cool girl (even though she is 108 years old!)  I’m getting the royal tour of her city, Olympus Mons.  Her family is really nice and we had galact pizza (with asteroids – yum!)  She even showed me how to use her holokron to order the pizza.

There are so many things to learn here on Mars, a lot of technical stuff (it’s a good thing there is a glossary at the end of the book). I really dig Aoleon’s school, The Martian Space Academy and Plutarch Xenocrates really rock!  The classroom is really awesome, I could spend all day looking around.

I’m having so much fun here, although I do miss home.  But there is something sinister going on here, I’m not quite sure what it is.  Are we in danger?

You can buy  Aoléon The Martian Girl here:     Amazon

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Book Review: Aoleon the Martian Girl: Science Fiction Saga – Part 1 – First Contact by Brent LeVasseur

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Book Description:

Crop circles magically appear in Farmer Johnson’s field. A mysterious light sweeps over the night sky and awakens Farmer Johnson and Gilbert, the boy next door.

Curious, Gilbert ventures out to discover the source of the light and stumbles into a beautiful Martian girl sitting in a crop circle. Farmer Johnson also investigates the strange light, and thinking that Gilbert and Aoléon are vandals, he chases them. But they sprint to Aoléon’s saucer and escape only to be pursued by the U.S. Air Force.

Gilbert has never been attacked by swarms of giant killer robots. Never met strange aliens from other worlds. Never skyboarded across a megalopolis hidden deep inside an extinct volcano. Never trekked across a vast Martian desert. And never been eaten alive by a gigantic slor (well, almost never, unless you count Billy the fat bully at school).

And luckily, he has never ever confronted an evil ruler of Mars bent on conquering the Earth to steal its cows.

Never…until now!

This may be the adventure Gilbert always wished for.

If only he can survive.

About​ the Author:
Brent LeVasseur

Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

Connect with Brent:

website    twitter      facebook    themartiangirl.com

My review:

After quickly flicking through the pages of this book the thought that came to mind was “oooo!  this is going to be fun!”   The story was charming with quite a bit of dry humour that a young person would enjoy.  Brent used vivid descriptions to describe Gilbert’s home in the Nebraskan countryside.  I especially enjoyed reading them as they transported me back to my childhood living on a farm in the prairies.  The artwork just popped and I felt myself wanting to see this as a film.

What is so special about this book is the fact that Brent uses a fun method to teach young people about astronomy, geography, physics and science. (don’t tell your kids!) The vocabulary is pretty impressive – this book makes learning fun!   The end of the first book is really action-packed and I hadn’t expected a cliff-hanger.  I really want to know what happens next…when is the next book coming out?  😀

I received a copy of this book from the author free of charge.

You can buy  Aoléon The Martian Girl here:   Amazon

 

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