Books

Books

Thu
13
Apr

Star Wars Builders Sets Give Fans Information, Interactivity

Star Wars Builders Droids

Since entering fatherhood, I have encountered a new phenomenon in publishing. Well, it's new to me, anyway. Prior to my graduation, books were things that had a cover -- either hard or soft -- and pages in between. Sometimes pictures. (Okay, quite often lots of pictures. I read a lot of graphic novels.)

Once the short human took up residence, however, I found completely different kinds of books. Not just the kind where each and every page was a half-inch thick cardboard slab (that he still managed to chew the corners off of; beaver DNA, don't ya know?) . No, these were "activity" books. They had compartments in the back to store things, like miniature charactes and a roll out map of a scene on which the characters would play. Where was this when I was trying to map out troop movements while reading LORD OF THE RINGS?

Wed
12
Apr

Ready, Set, Squint! Draw Spider-Man Characters the Dot-to-Dot Way

Marvel Spider-Man 1000 Dot to Dot

Thomas Pavitte's MARVEL: SPIDER-MAN 1000 DOT-TO-DOT BOOK makes anyone able to render drawings of their favorite Spider-man characters. Featuring twenty scenes -- including a double-sized spread pull-out -- and printed on heavy stock, single-sided pages, each of these pages will keep you busily entertained for hours.

Yes, hours. Did I fail to mention there are 1000 connections in each drawing?

Now, any kid who's done dot-to-dots before can tell you -- the more dots you have, the more detailed your finished drawing will be. So you can imagine the kind of results you'll get with 1000 dots! The good news is that the pages are huge -- 9 1/2" by 14" -- so there's a large canvass to work on. The bad news is that, well, there are 1000 dots! And since some of the lines trace back over themselves, there's a handy color-coding in place so that you don't get lost.

Wed
12
Apr

Marvel Universe Felt All You Need for Making Cute Super Heroes

Marvel Universe Felt project book

Oh, Aimee Ray. You have such confidence in my cutting, stitching, and stuffing talents where I know there is none. Nevertheless, your project kit, MARVEL UNIVERSE FELT, appeals to me.

This boxed kit contains nearly everything you need to complete ten projects, each producing a huggable hero. Using the templates and the sheets of colored felt, you can cut out the pieces for Iron Man, Falcon, Rocket Raccoon (ohhhh yeahhh), Black Widow, Hulk, She-Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange -- presented in increasing order of difficulty. The kit also provides the stuffing and sewing floss, as well as instructions so simplistically presented that even I could follow them! All you need to bring is your scissors, your needle, and your willingness to take on the projects.

Wed
12
Apr

Be A Star, Wonder Woman! Teaches Pre-Schoolers Girl Power

Be A Star, Wonder Woman! by Michael Dahl and Omar Lozano

Continuing the project of using DC Superheroes as object lessons for young readers such as BEDTIME FOR BATMAN and GOOD MORNING, SUPERMAN, author Michael Dahl delivers an example for young girls with BE A STAR, WONDER WOMAN!

With delightful illustrations from Omar Lozano, BE A STAR, WONDER WOMAN! focues on a young Hispanic girl facing the challenges of her school day while, in parallel, Wonder Woman takes on the challenges of a fight between two monsters controlled by her foe, Circe. Readers will learn the lessons of peacemaking and bravery, while being shown that it's okay to ask for help from your friends when its needed (making way for a cameo appearance from Supergirl, Batgirl and Bumblebee in Wonder Woman's adventure).

Tue
04
Apr

Medieval Midlife Crisis Reaches Boiling Point in Pedersen's BURNING WITH ANGST

Burning With Angst

David J. Pedersen's ANGST saga continues to be a breathtaking adventure. The titular hero, Angst, is in his forties and living the life he dreamed of when he was younger -- being that of a hero saving his family, his friends, his country, and quite possibly all the world. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost far beyond creaking bones and physical exhaustion.

Angst is a magic weilder -- even a powerful one. But his magic became that much stronger when he bonded with Chrysleanor, a foci in the form of a sword as tall and as wide as a very tall and very wide man. This made Angst an Al'eyrn, a sort of super magic user of legend. Then Angst did the impossible and bonded with a second foci, Dulgirgraut, a sword of similar proportions but entirely different power. This made Angst something hitherto unseen in history, something that shouldn't exist.

Mon
03
Apr

ARGYLE FOX by Marie Letourneau - A Fun New Picture Book for Kids

From author-illustrator Marie Letourneau comes an adorable new picture book, ARGYLE FOX. 

Argyle Fox just wants to play outside. However, the gusty wind has other ideas. Despite his mother's warnings, Argyle Fox tries to build a card tower outside - but the wind quickly whooshes and blows the tower over. Determined to find a game to play on this windy day, Argyle Fox sets out to try different activities - but can he find something to do that the weather won't ruin?

Cute and whimsical full-page illustrations show Argyle Fox's adventures in enticing colors. This is a great story about using critical thinking to solve problems rather than giving up. While Argyle Fox's "answer" might be obvious to adult readers, children will love watching him think through his conundrum and try different activities. I loved the illustrations!

This is a quick read I think kids will really enjoy. 
 

Thu
30
Mar

Ira Bloom: Hearts and Other Things You Pour Into a YA Novel

Ira Bloom

If you haven't already rushed out and ordered your copy of HEARTS & OTHER BODY PARTS, then you have not yet begun your journey down what is almost certain to be the YA paranormal romance everyone will be reading and talking about this summer. You'll find yourself believing in witches, vampires, demons and other kinds of monsters. What you will have the most difficulty believing is that this novel is the first for author (yes, he can officially use that title on business cards, resumes, and -- shudder -- tax forms now) Ira Bloom. It's too seasoned, too nuanced, and just too good to be the product of the new kid on the YA block. (Oh yeah, and he has a Y-chromosome, too! How rare is that in the YA paranormal romance marketplace?)

We had the privilege of snaring an interview with Bloom before his schedule becomes swamped with such requests. Somewhere along the way, you'll probably see a link to Amazon to pick up this book. You'd be smart to click on it.

Wed
08
Mar

Fun New Middle Grade Sequel by Laurie B. Arnold

HELLO THERE, DO YOU STILL KNOW ME? is the second and newest book in the Madison McGee Adventure series by Laurie B. Arnold. HELLO THERE is a fun genre mashup that straddles the line between sci-fi, magical realism, and contemporary adventure. 

Fri
03
Mar

Drowning in Angst Flooded with Fantasy

Drowning in Angst by David J. Pedersen

DROWNING IN ANGST is the third in David J. Pedersen's fantasy series following the adventures of a man who always wanted to be a hero -- and then finally got his chance after turning 40.

Fri
03
Mar

Time Shifters Straddles Moods of Tragedy, Silliness

Time Shifters

Chris Grine (CHICKENHARE) puts out graphic novels with all the restraint of a fourth grade storyteller. His cast of characters are the "pulled out of a hat at random" variety pack that should have absolutely no logical team cohesion -- how else to explain that the good guys are a scientist, a ghost, a chicken-beaked T-rex and Robot Abraham Lincoln, and that the bad guys are a skeleton in a pressurized space suit, a hollow mummy, and Vampire Napoleon?

Wed
01
Mar

The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship

Adventures of John Blake, Mystery of the Ghost Ship

Philip Pullman is breaking into the graphic novel business, and he's bringing the accomplished Fred Fordham with him.

The hardcover GN releasing in May is THE ADVENTURES OF JOHN BLAKE: MYSTERY OF THE GHOST SHIP, which leads me immediately to think there's more to come than what's just between the covers herein. And what an adventure it is! Pullman wastes no time establishing the eerie legend of the Mary Alice, a ghost ship that appears in the fog, and the demon boy in the red shirt that accompanies it. The sightings go back for centuries, but it's a story that has its origins in the early days of the twentieth century, and involves no less a personage than Albert Einstein.

Fri
24
Feb

In Search of the (Maybe Not So) Lost Testament of Alexander the Great

The Lost Testament of Alexander the Great by David Grant

In Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Purloined Letter," the hero C. Auguste Dupin outwits the police when he is brought in to consult on a stolen letter being used for blackmail purposes. In the story, the police search an apartment where they know the letter to be hidden, checking the drapes and other unique hiding places that might conceal it. Dupin saves the day when he looks for the letter and finds it sitting out in the open, too obvious to be the object the police sought. The story is often pointed to as the epitome of the adage, "Hiding in plain sight."

Mon
20
Feb

Treadwater Gets Into the Swim of Things with Volume 2 Release

When I saw the covers for Darkrose Studios' TREADWATER graphic novels, I knew exactly what I was getting into. Skin tight suits, strange flying crafts, mid-air explosions. Surely this was a space opera war along the lines of Michael Tierney's WILD STARS or Van Allen Plexico's LUCIAN.

I could not have been further off, at least in setting if not in flavor.

Fri
17
Feb

Claudia Gray Novel Wins Best Book of 2016, by Force

Star Wars Bloodline Best Novel 2016

Continuing our series of releases for the Best of 2016 Awards, we now come to the category for Best Novel of 2016. And, boy, did we have a selection of choices in titles and genres!

However, there were three standouts who topped the list, starting with THE CROWN by Keira Cass, which came in third, edged out by BORN A CRIME by Trevor Noah -- both really excellent books and neither one anything at all alike. That's just a taste of the kind of range faced by our readers who voted in this poll.

Wed
15
Feb

Ira Bloom Crafts YA Must-Read: Hearts & Other Body Parts

Hearts & Other Body Parts by Ira Bloom

Ira Bloom's HEARTS & OTHER BODY PARTS reads with such fluidity and magnetism that it's difficult to believe this is a debut novel. It's a YA romance novel that blends urban fantasy with modern reality to the point that it is neither one and better than both.

Esme, Katy and Ronnie Silver are sisters attending the same high school. Esme is an intellectual overachiever, Ronnie is a natural beauty and knows it, and Katy is an everygirl whose fun to have around. They're also witches. Real spell-casting, potion-brewing, hex-tossing witches. And, no, they're not attending Monster High, tempting though it might be to draw the comparison. Middleton is an average high school filled with everyday kids -- and three witches.

Tue
07
Feb

Batgirl: New Hero of the Night (Backstories)

Batgirl New Hero of the Night (Backstories)

I've been a fan of Batgirl ever since I first saw Yvonne Craig don the tights when I was just a wee lad laying on the floor with my chin propped up on my hands watching a 17 inch color television. (I couldn't reasonably go outside as the Earth's crust was still cooling, obviously.) Over the years I've added numerous odds and ends to my Batgirl collection, including first appearances of both Batgirl and Bat-girl in comics, some statues, and a couple of autographed stills from the television show.

You'd think there'd be nothing in BATGIRL: NEW HERO OF THE NIGHT, the latest in Scholastics DC COMICS BACKSTORIES line, for me to learn. In fact, given the tenure of the hero, I scoffed a little at the "new" in the title.

Mon
06
Feb

Spinale Spins Epic Wonder with UMBERLAND

Umberland by Wendy Spinale

In EVERLAND, Wendy Spinale took readers through a mind-magnet of a tale with a steampunk rendition of the legend of Peter Pan. It involved a virus that wiped out most of the adults, set upon the world by the Bloodred Queen and her devoted son, Captain Hans Otto Oswald Kretschmer (or "Hook"). After the bombing of London, Pete and his Lost Boys, along with the seemingly immune Gwen and her siblings, left the Everland province with what they thought was a cure for the horrible Horologia virus.

It was a case where the cure was worse than the disease.

Thu
02
Feb

Join the Ninjago Team to Battle the Time Twins in this LEGO Activity Book

Ninjago Hands of Time LEGO activity book

Uh oh! Master Wu's past is catching up with him when two old enemies return to wreak havoc. The Ninjago team of Cole, Jay, Kai, Lloyd, Nya and Zane have their hands full with the Time Twins, who have the power to change the future and the past! Fortunately, they have the best help they can get on their side: You!

NINJAGO: THE HANDS OF TIME is an activity book that uses these fan-favorite LEGO Ninjago characters as teaching tools, taking the reader through tests of math, logic, and reading comprehension skills. Oh, and it's also fun from cover to cover! And as an added enticement, this book comes with a Vermillion Warrior LEGO minifig to add to your collection!

Wed
25
Jan

Clown Lives Matter in Legacy: Laughing Matter

I have been waiting for the 6th book in the LEGACY series for a long time.  As I have mentioned in the past, LEGACY is a spin-off from THE DESTROYER series.  I am a long time fan of THE DESTROYER, and new series writer RJ Carter did a terrific job with his first book in the series, BULLY PULPIT.  But, I have to admit that I like the LEGACY books even more.   They take the brilliant world of THE DESTROYER and flesh it out to a whole new level.

Mon
26
Dec

Pip Bartlett's Guide to Unicorn Training is Witty Fun for Young Animal Lovers

PIP BARTLETT’S GUIDE TO UNICORN TRAINING is the second book in Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce’s whimsical Pip Bartlett series. I have not read the first book, PIP BARTLETT’S GUIDE TO MAGICAL CREATURES, but I had no problem following along in this fun, cute, and witty sequel.

Pip Bartlett assists her Aunt Emma in her job as a vet. However, these aren’t cats and dogs coming to the clinic – these are magical creatures like Rockshines, Griffins, and Greater Rainbow Minks. Never heard of them? Don’t worry – there are full-page textbook entries with pictures of each species throughout the book, so it’s easy to keep them straight.

Pip has a special skill to aid her in her work: she can speak with these creatures as easily as speaking with a friend. And they’re full of personality.

Pages

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