Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Snoop Troop: It Came From Beneath the Playground by Kirk Scroggs


Snoop Troop: It Came from Beneath the Playground

Genre: Mystery
Age Group: Middle Grade
Publishing Date: September 9th, 2014 by Little Brown Books

Summary: Every newly independent reader will be rolling on the floor--and has a chance to solve the mystery--in this wildly wacky mash-up of chapter book and graphic novel, with art on every page, interactive seek-and-find elements, and more!
In this first book of the series, fourth-grade detective Logan Lang is facing the biggest case of her career. Someone--or something--is stealing everything that kids love. Toys! The amusement park carousel! Even the school playground! All of them sucked underground without a trace. Logan will have to team up with her longtime nemesis and super cop wannabe Gustavo Muchomacho if she wants to stop this subterranean scoundrel. With her serious doodling skills and his arsenal of high-tech sky mustaches, they'll race against the clock to unearth a master criminal.
Bonus backmatter is loaded with extra puzzles, word jumbles, instructions for drawing suspects, and doodle activities

My Thoughts: I don't know what to think about this book. It sounds weird to say, but it is true I guess. I will say however, that like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Books, it is a very passive book, although this one seemed to have a plot. However, in my opinion, a downfall was that the book tried to play with the reader more. This included stops in the book to have you do a task, such as find stuff in the picture or try to figure out who did it. Nothing bad about that, for the type of book it is, it is fine, although I would not try to classify this is a serious novel, more like a fun and easy read, which again is fine. I do want to point out something cool: the new perspective. This was very unique in that the book is in third-person but the narrator talks to the characters. It was pretty interesting.

Rating: 8 out of ten

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Stuart Gibbs Update

Not sure why I needed to write this post, but I'd like to give a little update with SG.

First off, the Waste of Space Cover is out. You can read more about it and the plot here



Also, turns out still haven't read Panda-Monium. Not sure why, but I haven't. Pretty sad. Oh well, I'll get on it soon. No Spoilers!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Bang by Barry Lyga


Bang

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Group: YA
Publishing Date: April 18th, 2017 by Little, Brown Books

Summary: One shot ruined his life. Another one could end it.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one—not even Sebastian himself—can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend—Aneesa—to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past.

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

My Thoughts: Wow, I haven't read a book to this level in a while. What a unique plot line. A kid with a secret is just trying to have fun when all of the sudden...wow it was just crazy. I really did like the 21st century aspects. I like it when books that are placed in the present time recognize the things that we have nowadays, namely all the technology and gadgets that are available. I also would like to mention that Aneesa is in fact of the Muslim religion, which is good, especially because Muslims get a bad rep for the crazy acts of some people, so I did like that he showed they are well normal. Also, it doesn't say in the summary, but I don't think this a spoiler- the book revolves around pizza. And who doesn't love pizza (sorry for those who are lactose intolerant)

Rating: 9.5 out of ten.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Space Case X Spy School Crossover Fanfic Part 1

Hey guys. Beginning a new crossover, I've gotten a bunch of requests and I'm entering this piece for the writing contest for Stuart Central. Go join Stuart Central if you haven't already! Anyway, here is my piece, if I get a lot of love for it, I may continue to post more.


Earth Year 2044
June 24 2:45 AM EST
Houston, Texas

Dash:

It’s been 3 incredible years on the moon. Well, to rephrase, only the first 6 months were. After solving Dr. Holtz’s murder and finding Nina in the bathroom, well, once the Sjobergs were finally off the moon, everything was just normal. There were no scandals or murders, just normal research and exercise, something you’d find on Earth. As soon as we touched down in Honolulu, we immediately went through Border Control. That’s right folks, I guess we technically left the country, but it was still pretty weird.

After passing border control, before we got ready for the parade to honor us or whatever, we had to forfeit or souvenirs to government, which made Violet extremely upset. Long story short, after Nina was sneaking moon rocks back to Earth to sell, the government realized “If these rocks are worth millions to some people, we could use them pay off our debt” because, the US government. So they had us each take some decently sized rocks home, however, they took up all of them except for the tiniest ones, which the split amongst the thirsty of us. There was going to be a charity auction in roughly two days and the proceeds would be split between charities and NASA.

I saw Kira.

“Excited to be home?” I asked, trying to get the ball rolling. It’s pretty awkward when an entire globe ships you with a girl you just want to be friends with, especially when you end up seeing the same girl for three years on the daily.

“Of course not” she replied with a bit of disgust “Remember, my dad?”

“Right. Is he really as bad as you say he is”

“No, he’s going to be even worse. The whole public has their eye on me, I’m going to be flocked by teenage guys”

“You are? But….” I trailed as she was on my train of thought. On the moon, we never really celebrated birthdays: cake was too expensive to bring to the moon and our present was always just being up there, so I hadn’t realized: we’re both 15 now.

“Yeah, it’s going to be pretty bad, but hey, we’re in this together right?”

We laughed when she said that, and high fived like we were in high school musical, and gathered around for the moon rock splitting ceremony.


Ben

Life has been super weird for the past, I don’t know, thirty years. About 29 years ago, the CIA and a bunch of scientists developed a top secret immortality pill, but it’s sort of with a twist. It’s based off those people who have the genetic disorder where you don’t age. You sort of inject their DNA into yours and *MAGIC* you become immortal. The best part is, you can even reverse it. However, there are some caveats. Your body can only inject one in its lifetime without it shriveling apart, so it’s a one time use. Also, when you decide to undo it, you immediately age into whatever age you really should be.

As soon as we got them, Erica used hers right away. I waited until I was 15 to use mine. That way we could officially unofficially be together and have it not look weird. Also, by waiting, I grew a bunch of muscle and looked more like Chip than Warren.

Erica and I were in a CIA office going over cases on the computer. As the agency’s head agents, we aren’t assigned cases, we choose them.

“Which one do you want to take on today?” I asked

“I don’t know, Croatian shooting or Turkish terrorist attack, they both seem exciting and curious, but are any of them worth it?”

“I’m with you, those are the dime a dozen cases, we get those all the time. Heck, even Warren could stop those, I’m looking for something juicy.”

“Exactly, something heart-pounding, unique, and a thriller”

Just then that thriller dropped in front of us.

The president called, and naturally, well, we picked up. Well, Erica sort of shoved me out of the way to get to the phone.

“Hello Mr. President”

“Hello, Erica, I’ve just got a tip that SPYDER is at it again. They’re targeting the charity auction with the souvenirs from the Moonies. Hundreds of millions are on the line. Stop them”

It was a simple yet effective message. Erica relayed the information.

“Should we take anyone?” I asked.
She sighed. This happens every mission, so I knew how she would react. She hates bringing people along, but every time I convince her and that extra person saves the day.

“This one seems really good, I don’t need any extra people with us”

“Alright, but in my defense, Warren wasn’t as bad as he usually is last time, and he even helped us camouflage onto a wall. Tell me that isn’t good”

“Yes that’s good, but that doesn’t justify the fact he almost got North Korea flying nukes left and right toward the US because his Korean is garbage”

“That was a simple mistake”

“HE SAID TRY TO TAKE US DOWN INSTEAD OF LET’S SIT DOWN. If I hadn’t convinced the dictator, America would be dead right now”

I started to argue but she grabbed my shoulder. Oh, she was good, she knew my every strength and weakness, and her hand was kryptonite.

“Alright, I said, we’ll go alone, but when we have to do something that requires 5 hands, don’t go complaining to me”

Dash

Kira and I were just chilling at our house in Honolulu. Boy, was the parade crazy. You have never seen a party until you’ve seen a bunch of Hawaiians cheering for close friends who’ve been gone for three years. It was an experience impossible to be put into words.

Mom and Dad were flown to Houston for a press conference and a bunch of other stuff about the findings at Lyndon B Johnson Space center, along with all of the other adults. Because this was an adults only thing, they didn’t take me, however, they took Violet because even with someone watching her, she always knew how to get into trouble. So I had the house to myself.

Kira came over and we talked for a bit when the phone rang. It was my mom so of course, I answered it.

“Hey mom, aren’t you supposed to be in a press--”

“NO, they canceled it, something big has happened. The terrorist organization SPYDER is threatening to take all of the moon rocks and other memorabilia. Right now, ever flight to Hawaii is closed.

“So you’re not going to be home”

“Yes Dash, you’re going to be on your own… indefinitely.”

“Hold on, so you’re saying that I’m trapped on an island with an evil organization alone with no parents”

“Well, I’d hate for you to put it that way, but yes. Don’t worry just stay safe and you’ll be fine. I have to go”

I put the phone down in shock. I began rambling to Kira what just happened when someone started knocking on the door.

Ben

“Okay, but you do know this could be some other random schoolkids' house” Erica questioned.

We were on the porch of presumably the Gibson’s Residence. On the flight, I told Erica that we still were going to need a few extra minds, and eventually we compromised on trying to find the moonies that were teens. They were the right age and knew the ins and outs of everything for this case, so they were a help. The CIA database thought they were still on the moon, so our next best shot was getting the address list from Dash’s school.

“I know that Erica, but it’s our best shot at finding the kid. If it’s some other kid then we can just say we just moved in or something”

Then we heard a voice. “Are you guys with SPYDER?”

We looked at each other. How’d they know the name?

Erica responded “Um no, are you guys the kids on the moon” I’d never seen Erica so shook.

They opened the door. It was a guy and a girl, about our age. They both were holding baseball bats. “Who are you guys?”

We pulled out our badges “CIA special agents, mind if we come in?”

We talked for around 5 minutes. They told us what they thought was going on, and we essentially confirmed everything.

“So” I started “We need to find where they are holding all of these items. It would really help us in our case”

The girl, who’s name was Kira, responded “We know where they are, and we’ll tell you, on one condition: we want in on the investigation”

Erica and I had discussed this before, if we knew that they knew what they were doing, heck we brought Warren to North Korea, we agreed it would be okay to take these teens with us.

“Alright, you guys are in” I replied. “Let’s begin”

Dash

Boy did Kira know how to work a pair of teens who were top CIA agents. She got us in on this international case in like 5 minutes. Afterwards, the spies went to work.

“First off, obviously this is a really dangerous case” explained the girl, Erica “You guys have any weapons”

“You’re looking at the most dangerous thing we own” I replied.

Erica and the other kid, Ben, shared a look, and Ben replied “Alright, we can hook you guys up”

They both threw us tasers, which was a good thing, because I really didn’t know how to shoot a gun.

“Ok, so we are going to go to the NASA base, that’s where you said they were going to be right?” Erica asked. She received a nod from Kira. “We’re going to stake out for a few hours until we can get some more intel from our other spies. Maybe we get lucky and catch a delivery”

“Whoa, whoa” Kira interrupted “A few hours. Do you know how hot it is, I’m literally going to die. Can I just be involved in the parts where you guys are chasing down the bad guys in cars?”

They laughed “It isn’t like the movies, Kira” Ben replied “Spying isn’t easy work, it isn’t fun work, heck we don’t even get recognition or paid too much”

“Why do you do it?” Kira asked.

Ben thought for a second. “I dunno, I guess I’ve just always wanted to be one”

Everyone shared an accepting shrug, and we eventually left my house and covertly...went into our car and drove to the NASA base.

Kira was still doubtful “Uh, we are in the open, aren’t we going to uh...die?”

Erica seemed annoyed but answered “SPYDER doesn’t even know we’re here and they are supposed to go to work the night before the auction which is tomorrow”

Kira replied “Oh, right, I’m sorry. I’m just so paranoid with this whole evil organization trying to attack us thing. It’s cool” Eventually she calmed down.

Ben replied “Don’t worry about it. It happens all the time. I mean, for regular civilians, it is pretty scary. But we know what we’re doing. Right now, they should think we are just regular people going for a drive. This is why we’re doing it in the open. If we took side roads to get to a building accessible by open streets, that could suspicious of a SPYDER agent scouting the place. But trust me, we are in no danger right now.”

That was when, of course, someone opened up gunfire at our car.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Final Four by Paul Volponi


The Final Four

Age Group: YA
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publishing Date: March 1st 2012 by Viking Books


Summary: Four players with one thing in common: the will to win

Malcolm wants to get to the NBA ASAP. Roko wants to be the pride of his native Croatia. Crispin wants the girl of his dreams. M.J. just wants a chance.

March Madness is in full swing, and there are only four teams left in the NCAA basketball championship. The heavily favored Michigan Spartans and the underdog Troy Trojans meet in the first game in the semifinals, and it's there that the fates of Malcolm, Roko, Crispin, and M.J. intertwine. As the last moments tick down on the game clock, you'll learn how each player went from being a kid who loved to shoot hoops to a powerful force in one of the most important games of the year. Which team will leave the Superdome victorious? In the end it will come down to which players have the most skill, the most drive, and the most heart.

My Thoughts: If you really have never davelled into Sports Fiction, other than John Feinstein, this was an amazing book. I really think in my opinion this is what sports fiction is about, not about some 6 year olds just playing football, an intense and suspenseful mystery which just happens to surround a sport. So many people simply diss sports fiction because they aren't sports fans and think that sports fiction is just a crap genre. In reality, if you pick the right books, it really can be something special. However, I didn't like the character of Malcolm. Basically in the book, he's portrayed as a selfish ball hogging jerk, which even though his background begins to justify his actions, it sort of distracted from the main plot.

Rating: 8.6 out of ten.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Hurricane by Terry Trueman

Hurricane 


Age Group: YA
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: March 1st, 2008 by Harper Collins
Summary:  
outside, the wind is howling.
it is a monster shrieking to get inside.
outside, the rain is a solid wall of water.
everything is dark.
everything is destroyed.
everything is gone....
Everything except for the desperate courage of those who survive that terrifying night. After hours of cowering in the dark with no lights, no warmth, and the terrible noises of the rain and wind pounding on the walls, JosÉ walks out his front door and steps into a nightmare.
But his nightmare has only begun as he and the few who are left in his small village start to pull their lives back together.
Based on Hurricane Mitch's devastation of Honduras in 1998, Terry Trueman's powerful story is about a young boy's fear and courage in the face of a force of nature too huge to even imagine.
My Thoughts: This book in my opinion had a lot of potential. Like I really did enjoy the basis of this plot: this hurricane which seemingly none of us knew about. And I really did enjoy the main character Jose's unique ability to speak two languages, as this aided the book more than it did any harm. However, I will ding the book, because, as I'd like to point out, it just seemed so bland. The book is short and I wanted it to be longer. There wasn't really a plot, just a recollection of events, and there wasn't really a build up. Good in concept, but I wish it was executed better.
Rating: 7.5 out of ten

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Underdogs by Sara Hammel


The Underdogs


Age Group: MG
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
Publishing Date: May 31st 2016 by BYR

Summary: Everyone has secrets…

Who killed Annabel Harper?

When a popular teen beauty’s body is discovered by the pool at an elite tennis club, the regulars are shocked—especially twelve-year-old Evie and her best friend, Chelsea. While everyone else is haunted by Annabel’s death, Evie and Chelsea jump on the case, dogging the footsteps of the lead detective as he investigates. As temperatures soar ver the summer, tensions rise, fingers are pointed, and a heroic act sets in motion a chain of events readers will never see coming

My Thoughts: I don't know, this book sort of hit all the good things in my life personally: love to play tennis, love a good mystery book, and the book ahd a bunch of plot twists. It was almost as if the book was written for me, something sort of surprising and pretty cool. I will say, the book spends quite a bit amount of time talking tennis (not like a whole chapter, more like bits here and there, but it added up and became a little tedious). Also, if not for the insane crazy plot twisting ending, I don't know if I would've liked the book that much, mostly because it got sort of confusing. It was one of those books that constantly flashed backed and forward (like from before and then to after, and honestly, that's one of the things I hate about books. But the crazy ending saved the book.

Rating: 8.5 out of ten.

(Hopefully you like my new style of review, it sort of summarizes everything and doesn't make it take too long to read)