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Coming Soon: Sky Jumpers: The Forbidden Flats by Peggy Eddelman

forbidden flatsTitle: Sky Jumpers:  The Forbidden Flats

Author: Peggy Eddelman

Series: Sky Jumpers #2

Genre: Middle Grade

Release Date: September 2, 2014

The Overview: Twelve-year-old Hope has always felt a little different from everyone else who lives in White Rock. She tries hard, but she doesn’t always think before she acts. She takes big risks. Sometimes her risks pay off, but sometimes they fail. Sometimes she fails. Hope knows that the most dangerous thing about living in White Rock is that it’s so close to the deadly Bomb’s Breath—the invisible, fifteen-foot-thick band of compressed air that’s hovered over the earth since the Green Bombs of World War III. The citizens of White Rock live in fear of the Bomb’s Breath. Only Hope has figured out a way to go through it—and lived to tell the tale. But when a massive tremor rips across the earth, the Bomb’s Breath begins to lower over White Rock. It’s up to Hope and her friends Brock and Aaren to make the dangerous journey far from home across the bandit-ridden Forbidden Flats to the wilds of the Rocky Mountains and obtain the one thing that may be able to stop it—before the Bomb’s Breath sinks too far and destroys them all. This time, Hope can’t fail.

forbidden flats

 Hosted by Breaking the Spine

 I thought the first book in this series (Sky Jumpers) was a fun story with great characters and a cool atmosphere. I’m predicting that Sky Jumpers: The Forbidden Flat will be even better than the first book because now that the world is established there is nothing left but to explore it!  I am super excited to see how the story continues and think Eddelman is a strong addition to the middle grade market.

 What book are you waiting on? Have you read Sky Jumpers yet?

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

sky raidersTitle: Sky Raiders

Author: Brandon Mull

Series: Five Kingdoms #1

Genre: Middle Grade

Release Date: March 11, 2013

The OverviewCole Randolph was just trying to have a fun time with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level. After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath the haunted house, he dives in after them and ends up in The Outskirts.

The Outskirts are made up of five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. Its an in-between place. Some people are born there. Some find their way there from our world, or from other worlds. And once you come to the Outskirts, its very hard to leave. With the magic of the Outskirts starting to unravel, its up to Cole and an unusual girl named Mira to rescue his friends, set things right in the Outskirts, and hopefully find his way back home before his existence is forgotten.

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 Hosted by Breaking the Spine

  If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you are probably sick of hearing how much I love Brandon Mull (my favorite kids author since J.K. Rowling). His books never fail to make me feel like a kid again and are written on a level that even adults can appreciate. Sky Raiders is the first book in his latest series, and I remember reading that he thinks it’s the best book he’s written yet – so of course I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Top Ten Childhood Books I’m Thankful For!

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 Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

 This week, I’m paying homage to the books that sparked my love of reading. Without them, I doubt I would have grown up to be The Obsessive Bookseller I am today. I owe them for introducing me to my passion in life.

Top Ten Childhood Books I’m Thankful For!

Most of these books kept me entertained a dozen times over – when I was younger we lived almost two hours from the nearest bookstore, so I reread these books until they were falling apart. Some of them I would challenge myself to read cover to cover every day… It was a lot of fun. :-)

What books sparked your love of reading as a kid?

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater

Spirit animalsTitle: Hunted

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Series: Spirit Animals #2

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Release Date: January 2014

Series Overview: Spirit Animals is set in the world of Erdas, where children go through a coming-of-age ritual to determine if they have a “spirit animal,” which represents a bond between human and beast that bestows each with great power. The story centers on four children from different cultures who undergo the ritual and discover they have been chosen for a greater destiny.

Spirit animals

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

As my favorite middle-grade author since J. K. Rowling, Brandon Mull never fails to deliver amazing stories that take you on adventures and make you feel like a kid again. Wild Born was the first book launched in this multi-platform series and although different authors are taking the reins for the rest of the books, he is the outlining mastermind behind them all. Wild Born was so much fun to read that I am eagerly awaiting this sequel, taken on by Maggie Stiefvater (known for Raven Boys and Shiver). I haven’t read her before, but with all the excitement surrounding her other books, I’m confident she’ll do a good job with this one.

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Wild Born by Brandon Mull

September 10, 2013

September 10, 2013

Title: Wild Born

Author: Brandon Mull

Series: Spirits Animals #1

Genre: Middle Grade

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The Overview: Four children separated by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts – a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children – and the world – have been changed for ever. Enter the world of Erdas, where every child who comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal, a rare bond between human and beast that bestows great powers to both. A dark force has risen from distant and long-forgotten lands, and has begun an onslaught that will ravage the world. Now the fate of Erdas has fallen on the shoulders of four young strangers …and on you.

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The Review:

I want to start off by saying I love this author. He perfectly encapsulates the wonders of fantasy while reminding us how much fun it was to be a kid. He manages to do both of these things without sacrificing the quality of his writing (which keeps adult readers engaged and gives a healthy challenge to the younger ones). I am a huge sucker for fantasy books involving animals – after all, it was the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate and the Redwall series by Brian Jacques that initially sparked my love of reading. So the idea of having my favorite kids author (aside from JK Rowling) tackle an animal story was the best news ever.

I was anticipating a robust, full-length novel… what I got was something slightly different. Turns out, it’s the first installment of a multi-platform series, sort of like The 39 Clues and The Infinity Ring. Brandon Mull wrote this first book and outlined the next five books, but other authors will tell those tales. While cool in its own right, it’s not exactly what I had in mind.

Even though it was different than I’d hoped, it was still a dang good (albeit quick) read. I especially loved the diverse range of characters – there was someone for everyone to root for, giving it a sort of global appeal. All the characters had compelling individual stories but also played really well off of one another – they were my favorite components in the book, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where their journey take them next.

The magic system was also a strong point – I love the magic involved with getting a spirit animal and the benefits that came from having one. The concept was just plain fun. Because it’s a multi platform book, you can read it then go join the adventure online – earning a Spirit Animal for yourself as you help recover the hidden talismans. Sounds like fun, right? I’m probably going to sign in just to see what my animal would be…

Overall, Wild Born was a great adventure that started out with a bang and didn’t let up the entire way through.

Recommended Reading: for those looking for fantasy adventure, excitement, and a whole lot of animal awesomeness! And, of course, for fans of Brandon Mull.

by Niki Hawkes

Other books you might like:

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Book Review: Sky Jumpers by Peggy Edelman

September 24, 2013

September 24, 2013

Title: Sky Jumpers

Author: Peggy Eddelman

Series: Sky Jumpers #1

Genre: Young Reader

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: What happens when you can’t do the one thing that matters most? Twelve-year-old Hope Toriella lives in White Rock, a town of inventors struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath—the deadly band of compressed air that covers the crater left by the bombs—than fail at yet another invention. When bandits discover that White Rock has priceless antibiotics, they invade. Hope and her friends—Aaron and Brock—might be the only ones who can escape to make the dangerous trek through the Bomb’s Breath and over the snow-covered mountain. Inventing won’t help her make it through alive, but with Aaron and Brock’s help, the daring and recklessness that usually gets her into trouble might just save them all.

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The Review:

Sky Jumpers is the perfect book to get your kids interested in futuristic (and somewhat dystopian) adventure stories – especially if they are a bit too young for Hunger Games and Divergent. Everything was perfectly engaging and exciting – from the great mission to save the valley to the trials of creating a good invention (my favorite part of the story – what fun!) and it was all just tame enough to be a good read for everybody.

As an adult reader (I use the term loosely), I found many things appealing: the overall concept, the atmosphere, and the characters. The only thing I could’ve used more of, at least in the beginning, was quicker pacing. The inciting incident didn’t take place until almost halfway through the book. Usually, that’s a big problem. In this case, it wasn’t totally detrimental to the story, but the book might’ve been stronger if it had more of a direction early on.

Here’s a couple of elements why, even without the inciting incident, I still really enjoyed the first half of the book: it had fun, engaging moments of mischief and great inner conflicts surrounding the main character. I really felt immersed into this girl’s world and her struggles to be a good daughter and a good inventor were more than enough to carry the story. Overall, it was a delightful read and one that I will definitely be suggesting to customers.

Recommended Reading: for anyone wanting to get absorbed in a fun adventure – especially those completely content picking up a middle grade book.

By Niki Hawkes

Other books you might like: