- Johannesburg, South Africa
- member since January 25, 2009
“When 11-year-old Zoe Guire arrives in India on a brief sojourn with her mom, she has no idea what is in store for her. She also has no idea that she possesses hidden powers. Upon their arrival, Zoe discovers (to her mild annoyance) that Zak Merril, a boy she knows from school, is also there with...”
“When 11-year-old Zoe Guire arrives in India on a brief sojourn with her mom, she has no idea what is in store for her. She also has no idea that she possesses hidden powers. Upon their arrival, Zoe discovers (to her mild annoyance) that Zak Merril, a boy she knows from school, is also there with his dad, who is Zoe’s mom’s colleague. Events take a strange turn and both Zoe’s mom and Zak’s dad have to leave to sort out a few things. Ostensibly, Zak and Zoe will remain at the Delhi Grand Palace hotel under the supervision of a babysitter. But that’s not the way things happen at all. Within a short space of time, Zoe and Zak have encountered a definitely no-good character called Frank Berger, found an antique map, sneaked into Berger’s hotel room, hidden away in an old trunk, and then been transported to a strange place, miles from their nice, safe hotel. Plunged into an adventure involving a talking elephant, unusual local characters, and lots of danger, thrills, and spills, Zoe and Zak must stay alive and protect a mythical creature called the Ghost Leopard. It doesn’t help that Zoe keeps having really scary dreams as well.
This is adventure with a capital ‘A’ and the kind that middle grade readers will love. Although the book does have a slow start, soon Zoe and Zak are neck-deep in sinister people, events, and possible Very Bad Outcomes. The author does a fine job of painting the picture of India, from the ambiance, to the people, to the various cultural references. This places the young reader slap bang in the new and sometimes fantastical environment. India is full of amazing legends and fantasy elements and the author has used these to great advantage. Zoe and Zak see the ‘real’ India that tourists don’t encounter, and this is absolutely one of the high points of the story. While there is sometimes too much information, and it can slow down the pace, I think young readers will breathe in the ambiance with relish. Fantasy merges with reality in the author’s capable hands with descriptions to take young readers as high as the magic carpet they encounter. Zak is as ‘supermega majorly’ annoying as any sixth-grade boy can be and he provides many chuckles with his clumsy efforts to manage things. Zoe is intense, thoughtful, and takes things more seriously. I enjoyed the balance between the two characters and kids will certainly relate to them. This is an action-packed, magical adventure with enough excitement and peril to keep young readers glued to the pages. This is the first of Zoe and Zak’s adventures so young fans can look forward to more fantastical events.
Fiona Ingram finished reading a book.
“Jemima and Joe Lancelot, along with their talking cat Max, and their best friend Charlie, are off on another adventure. The twins live with their Uncle Richard since their parents’ mysterious disappearance several months earlier. Only the children and Max know what really happened—Mr. and Mrs....”
“Jemima and Joe Lancelot, along with their talking cat Max, and their best friend Charlie, are off on another adventure. The twins live with their Uncle Richard since their parents’ mysterious disappearance several months earlier. Only the children and Max know what really happened—Mr. and Mrs. Lancelot, with the aid of a mysterious book, have become trapped in the past. Using the book and a special key, the kids are desperately dipping in and out of time to track down the adults. Oddly enough, when Uncle Richard gives them their (eleventh) birthday presents—an Xbox game of the Trojan War for Joe and a special charm bracelet for Jemima as well as a book on Troy—it is more than enough of a hint as to where they are going next. The kids, Charlie, and Max end up in the middle of the Trojan War. They do their best to stay alive, find out more about where the twins’ parents were last seen, and do all they can to turn the tide of events in a war that has been raging for ten years.
I love this series and have become hooked on it since book one, The Shadow of Atlantis. Max is really coming into his own, and the adventures would not be the same without him. This time, Max has a significant role to play, although his efforts to help end in disaster. However, in one of the funniest scenes of the book, he gets the chance to make amends although it’s not quite the heroic role he anticipated. Dressed as Hermes, the winged messenger of the gods, Max tries to intervene to alter the fortunes of war. Alas, one cannot change the past, and those who must perish cannot be saved. Once again, author Wendy Leighton-Porter skilfully weaves a world of mythology, fantasy, and fact, and immerses her young protagonists slap bang in the middle of Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad.
The adventure is a turning point for the kids and Max as they face the reality of brutal war, death, and destruction when Troy falls through treachery. The author conveys a subtle message about violence that will help kids decide what is and is not acceptable. Other life lessons come when they realise they cannot turn the tide of history. For once, they are mere small pawns in a gigantic battle involving no less than the gods of Olympus, who prove to be as weak and fickle as the humans whose lives they dominate. The kids learn about human qualities, some good, some bad: King Priam’s pride and stubbornness; Hector’s bravery, Agamemnon’s cruelty, Cassandra’s compassion and self-sacrifice. I found a change in the series at this point, as the book embraces deeper, darker, and more mature themes. The author does a wonderful job of not sugar coating significant events and life’s realities.
However, all is not lost, history is fulfilled, and the kids return with a fragment of information on the adults’ whereabouts. Cassandra’s gift of prophecy has given them a glimmer of hope. Back home, Uncle Richard—hugely impressed by their avid interest in history and archaeology—provides them with some reassuring facts about the final fate of several characters. In addition, some interesting changes emerge on the domestic front. Uncle Richard and Charlie’s mum Ellen are going out for a drink! Could this be something significant? We’ll have to wait and see what transpires in the next adventure…
A helpful map, pronunciation guide, a list of characters, and the author’s note placing Homer, Troy, history, and Greek mythology in context will add to young readers’ enjoyment. If you are a parent wanting to get your kids entranced with reading, start them on this series. It’s a great learning curve, with fun, action, adventure, and a unique story line.
“Princelings George and Fred leave the safe confines of their home, Castle Marsh, to investigate a mysterious and recurring Energy Drain that ruined their grandfather, King Cole's birthday feast (and led to a lot of good food being wasted too!). They must find the answers since this situation...”
“Princelings George and Fred leave the safe confines of their home, Castle Marsh, to investigate a mysterious and recurring Energy Drain that ruined their grandfather, King Cole's birthday feast (and led to a lot of good food being wasted too!). They must find the answers since this situation cannot go on forever. Soon, there might be no power left. Leaving the castle is easier than they imagined; in fact the very mention of how useful a tunnel would be is enough for a tunnel to obligingly appear. A Great Adventure calls. Fred and George, inseparable, find themselves separated but they make the best of it. They meet a number of mysterious and sometimes vaguely sinister characters, particularly the ones with a vested interest in the situation. Is the production of a delicious and popular cola drink really the problem? And is time getting messed up somehow...?
George and Fred, although twins, are appealing and different characters. George (the Brains - he is a Thinker) and Fred (the Brawn - he is the Adventurer) make a great team, relying on each other all the time. When their adventure separates them, they must learn to rely on themselves and make decisions and choices depending on the circumstances that confront each one. They are inventive, curious, brave, and sharp-witted, no mean feat to survive in a variety of situations where petty politics rule. Both George and Fred go on a real journey of discovery, but in fact, much of the journey is internal as they miss each other's presence, but make those vital choices alone in the end.
Author Jemima Pett creates a charming and endearing world that is a fantastical mix of medieval with technology. Detailed descriptions sink the reader right into each new location and paint vivid pictures of sights and sounds, and the way the inhabitants live. The secondary characters entertain and amuse as well, with a quaint turn of phrase, or a deep, dark purpose (depending on who it is) to give them definition. Lovely idiosyncrasies such as habits and speech patterns ensure the secondary players are fully rounded in this tale. Ms. Pett's tongue-in-cheek humour will also give many a laugh to slightly older readers.
There is a useful list of characters and locations in the front of the book, which will help younger readers through the twists and turns of this surprisingly complex plot. The author's illustrations that preface each chapter are delightful and help cement the reader in the context. A lovely read for all ages, with enough action, adventure, inventiveness, and fun to satisfy the most demanding reader. Fans will be delighted to learn that George and Fred's adventures continue with the second and third books in the series.
PS: George and Fred are Guinea Pigs!”
“When the King’s Ransom, a wondrous jeweled medallion, is stolen from Pembroke Castle in Wales, it is up to three young heroes to band together to solve this mystery and save a life. Prince Gavin (12), the youngest son of King Wallace and Queen Katherine, and his two friends, Philip (13), an...”
“When the King’s Ransom, a wondrous jeweled medallion, is stolen from Pembroke Castle in Wales, it is up to three young heroes to band together to solve this mystery and save a life. Prince Gavin (12), the youngest son of King Wallace and Queen Katherine, and his two friends, Philip (13), an orphan, and Bryan (15), a blacksmith’s apprentice, are an unlikely trio, uneven in terms of social status but firm and loyal companions. Their friend, the Wild Man, is accused of murdering the king’s advisor and stealing the marvellous medallion, a symbol of absolute power and justice, but only in the right hands. Kings have enemies, and it soon becomes apparent that someone was after the medallion for the prestige it would bestow. Gavin, Bryan, and Philip race against time to find the medallion, reveal the true killer, and save the Wild Man’s life. They have only a few days before the arrival of King Arthur. If the medallion is not found, the Wild Man will be executed in front of Arthur. Can they overcome their fears and fulfil this momentous quest? Is it possible the Wild Man has tricked them all and simply used their friendship to get closer to the medallion?
What a delightful story. I am familiar with Cheryl Carpinello’s writing from reading and reviewing her first Arthurian book, Guinevere: On the Eve of a Legend. Then I was entranced by the author’s spell-binding descriptions of life in Arthurian times and her meticulous attention to detail. Cheryl’s skills have remained as bright as ever with the unfolding of this fast-paced tale, threaded with mystery, adventure, a bit of magic, danger, darkness, and lovely twists in the end. I so enjoyed the factual information about weapons, clothing, daily life, and places, cleverly interspersed in the text and dialogue to inform without overwhelming young readers. The author has a gift for delving into the depths of each young hero’s psyche. The way each one of the trio faces their fears, learns to believe in themselves, and finds their true meaning and path in life is moving. This is a superb coming-of-age story, set in a time of chivalry and pageantry, and harking back to an age when a hero was truly a hero.
“The adventures of twins Jemima and Joe, their talking Tonkinese cat Max, and their best friend Charlie continue with another trip back into the past using the magic book they found in their uncle’s attic. Their previous adventures began with a time travel trip to Atlantis in search of their...”
“The adventures of twins Jemima and Joe, their talking Tonkinese cat Max, and their best friend Charlie continue with another trip back into the past using the magic book they found in their uncle’s attic. Their previous adventures began with a time travel trip to Atlantis in search of their parents, who have mysteriously disappeared. The book, Shadows of the Past, (which belonged to their missing parents) opens to the second chapter, and the poem (a clue) that begins the chapter indicates the adventure concerns the Minotaur and the Athenian prince Theseus. They unhesitatingly step into the past, and find themselves embroiled in an adventure that’s a lot more dangerous than the previous one. Theseus is rather a selfish, absent-minded hero, and without the kids’ and Max’s good ideas, will he even manage to slay the Minotaur at all? With the help of Princess Ariadne (King Minos’ daughter) and of course Max’s vital intervention, they need to achieve their mission and make it back to the present day.
Having read The Shadow of Atlantis, I confess I couldn’t wait to go on another time travel trip with this trio (or should that be quartet?). Author Wendy Leighton-Porter has an amazing knack of placing her heroes right smack into situations that are potentially big and scary (and this one is uber-scary) and then letting them work out the escape routes by using their brains. The kids are refreshingly honest. They don’t let arrogant Theseus steal all the glory. They are also very brave and inventive. They reaffirm the bonds of friendship and loyalty, and isn’t that what kids should be learning in life lessons. It’s not easy to do the right thing when situations are frightening and dangerous, but our young heroes, human and feline, persevere against all odds. The adventures will continue as the kids search for the twins’ parents, but their renewed hope brings a new and positive slant to their escapades. This is a fantastic way of getting young readers interested in ancient myths and legends, and in realising that history is not dry as dust, but is vibrant and exciting. All the characters are believable and wonderfully drawn. Max, of course, quite steals the limelight!
“And the adventure continues! Instead of life returning to sleepy normal on Cardamom, the planet is now experiencing loads of activity. Cardamom Crystal is in huge demand as a power source for intergalactic technology. Caramel develops her skills in tree tending and healer classes and is keen to...”
“And the adventure continues! Instead of life returning to sleepy normal on Cardamom, the planet is now experiencing loads of activity. Cardamom Crystal is in huge demand as a power source for intergalactic technology. Caramel develops her skills in tree tending and healer classes and is keen to get better at computer control. The dangers of Alexander222 are over … or are they? Disaster strikes when the entire cardamom crop drops before due time, the plants are traumatized, and Caramel has to accompany her mother to the tree canopy to find out what is going on. If Cardamom does not meet its quota, Alexander222 and his sidekick Lex will put forward the new biosynthetic hybrid, Cardocryst, to the Intergalactic Council. This is something the inhabitants of Cardamom cannot afford to see happen because they will lose their livelihood.
Once at the tree canopy, Caramel discovers she has the ability to understand the plants and also to soothe them. She manages to encourage them to start producing a new crop. The planet might just make the quota after all, if the elves can keep the plants safe. Amazingly, the plants give her a clue: they were unable to smell the identity of the saboteur, meaning he or she is an elf! Caramel’s ideas on what happened to the plants—Alexander 222 and her Aunt Isabel are at the bottom of this—are dismissed as conspiracy theories, but once her mom, Arianna, is kidnapped, it’s up to Caramel and her friends to save the day … again!
Author Julie Anne Grasso knows how to keep the action and the energy going as Caramel and her mates plot and then execute a rescue plan. In between all the Cardamom-based science and techno talk, are the real themes of life that readers are beginning to understand. Doing the right thing, being loyal to friends and family, trying even when you might not succeed, believing in yourself, and consciousness of environmental issues are themes that should be instilled in kids at an early age. Caramel’s courage and principles help young readers to understand what it means to jump into the fray and do your very best. Wonderful revelations at the end of the book restore Caramel’s (and readers) faith in justice and make for a beautiful ending. I loved the first two books and can’t wait to read what the author and Caramel have in store in the final installment of this captivating trilogy.
“There are as many definitions of poetry as there are poets. Poetry is an artistic expression unlike any other. Some research suggests that poetry predates literature, starting out as songs and oral traditions of storytelling. Why poetry? The art of a few simple, well-chosen words teaches us to...”
“There are as many definitions of poetry as there are poets. Poetry is an artistic expression unlike any other. Some research suggests that poetry predates literature, starting out as songs and oral traditions of storytelling. Why poetry? The art of a few simple, well-chosen words teaches us to look at the smallest moments and details of life and learn from them. Alas, for many people the last time they read a poem was at school or university. It’s wonderful to find a book like Brave. A Book about Courage geared specifically for kids. Readers of all ages will delight in a variety of themes in this compilation of constructive acrostic, witty alliteration, haiku, alphabet, and free verse poetry. The book offers an endearing perspective about the various interests and feelings of a child in relation to hopes and aspirations, family relationships and friendships, the five senses, self and a sense of identity, animals, and life in general.
A book of poems is a gem, something to be savored and relished for each word of wisdom and awakening it offers the reader, regardless of age. In this book, many poems explore the fun, boisterous, sunny side of life, and others plunge deeper into the fearful aspects of being small in a big world. Bravery is having the courage to go out every day and tackle what comes, no matter what comes. These creatively structured poems explore what it means to cultivate respect for self and others, the meaning of good qualities, and to hold fast to the maxim that ‘anything is possible.’
Because Brave. A Book about Courage is authored by a 12-year-old child, other children will more thoroughly comprehend the content at hand and develop a better appreciation for literature. For children to read a child-authored book not only encourages more kids to get involved with reading books, but will possibly inspire them to write one of their own. This is a fabulous little book for parents and teachers to introduce children to the enchantment and magicality found in words. Highly recommended.
“Meet Caramel Cinnamon, an elf who lives in Cardeville on the planet Cardamom. Caramel’s bad accident when she was little has left her with a gammy leg, but that doesn’t stop her doing all kinds of things an elf of her age would do—such as spending two weeks visiting her friend Jemm Jasmine in the...”
“Meet Caramel Cinnamon, an elf who lives in Cardeville on the planet Cardamom. Caramel’s bad accident when she was little has left her with a gammy leg, but that doesn’t stop her doing all kinds of things an elf of her age would do—such as spending two weeks visiting her friend Jemm Jasmine in the tree canopy village and having loads of fun. But treachery and tragedy lie in store for the unsuspecting inhabitants of Cardamom. The villainous Alexander222, an off-world explorer, along with his sidekick clone, Lex, arrive from the planet Isqwartz. His planet resource is crystal, but supplies are dwindling. They need a renewable resource to trade with other members of the Intergalactic Council. Cardamom is just perfect, especially when the properties of this amazing plant become evident. Alexander222 is desperate to impress the Clone Council and get back into favor. The elves are betrayed by someone close to them, and things turn ugly. Caramel’s grandparents (the King and Queen of Cardamom) are kidnapped and Caramel recognizes their attacker. Before she can make trouble for him, Alexander222 dumps Caramel and her parents on the forbidden planet (Earth) that the Alexanders desperately try to avoid after a bad incident there (Roswell!). Although Earth isn’t as technologically advanced as Cardamom, Caramel and her parents make plans to rescue the King and Queen … until things go horribly awry! Now it’s up to Caramel to do it all on her own, with some help from her new Earth friends.
This is an enchanting fantasy tale to delight readers of all ages. Cardamom’s elves are not your ordinary fairytale elves. Science and technology rub shoulders comfortably with a twist of fantasy in this magical world. These elves have telepathic skills as well as healing talents. Caramel is not just an elf, she’s a princess, and she rises to meet the responsibilities thrust upon her with new-found inner strength and determination. Author Julie Anne Grasso has woven a wonderful story with all the elements to intrigue young readers and keep them turning those pages. There’s danger, a test of our heroine’s courage and resourcefulness, intergalactic travel, super-science, geek talk, and a mission to accomplish. Caramel is a lovely, real character, and touches such as her limp emphasize the importance of believing in yourself and being … well, yourself! Family relationships and friendships are also precious to the elves. There are some humorous touches parents will enjoy such as references to modern culture. Mentions of delicious food abound and one wonders why the author did NOT include the recipe for sticky date and chocolate cake with caramel cardamom syrup. (Pass the pudding please!)
“Ten-year-old twins Joe and Jemima Lancelot get the shock of their lives when their parents disappear without a trace and with no explanation. The only clues are a mysterious old book that had belonged to their father and a piece of jewellery belonging to their mother … something she always wore....”
“Ten-year-old twins Joe and Jemima Lancelot get the shock of their lives when their parents disappear without a trace and with no explanation. The only clues are a mysterious old book that had belonged to their father and a piece of jewellery belonging to their mother … something she always wore. The only witness to part of their disappearance is Max, their unusually talented Tonkinese cat. Months pass with no further information, and so the twins begin a new life with their Uncle Richard, a professor of archaeology. Although he hasn’t any kids of his own and isn’t very good at parenting, luckily his wonderful housekeeper, Mrs. Garland, makes the twins feel at home. Uncle Richard said Max (short for Maximus) could stay too, so, apart from deep sadness about their parents, the twins settle into a new routine. Charlie Green, the shy boy next door, soon becomes their best friend.
One rainy day, the twins decide to look at their father’s old book. In an amazing magical moment, they manage to open the book and, accompanied by Charlie and Max, are transported to the lost city of Atlantis. They befriend a kind family but the disaster facing the city soon becomes their problem. The trouble is, only a few people believe their warnings. Can they escape dangerous enemies, save the city, and get back to their own world before it’s too late? And where are their parents?
I loved this story. The kids are all clearly defined, and bring their own thoughts and personalities to this well-paced adventure: Joe always daring and often impetuous; Charlie a little hesitant but getting braver; and Jemima, sensitive and perceptive. Max is a unique character all on his own: wise beyond his years, observant, and alert to any hint of danger. He adds a lovely touch of humour with his cryptic comments. Wonderful descriptions bring the past to life and create a sense of otherworldliness mixed with reality. The story of Atlantis is one of those incredible mysteries that people aren’t quite sure is true or not. I’m a firm believer and I really enjoyed how much authentic detail the author includes in describing the history and legends of Atlantis and its origins. Greek mythology interweaves nicely with the story and makes for easy and interesting learning for young readers. This book is the start of a series that takes Joe and Jemima on new and exciting adventures into the ancient world. Highly recommended.
This short and simple ebook contains a wealth of information. It represents a unique approach to self-publishing and is based on the author’s lectures and webinars. It uses to flow charts and mind-maps to graphically explain the processes. It is intended to be a self-contained guide on the...”
This short and simple ebook contains a wealth of information. It represents a unique approach to self-publishing and is based on the author’s lectures and webinars. It uses to flow charts and mind-maps to graphically explain the processes. It is intended to be a self-contained guide on the self-publishing and marketing processes. It won’t exactly tell you how to self-publish or market a book, but it will present the steps you need to take to get your book self-published and how to start marketing it. There are notes associated with the flow charts and the mind-maps to explain the tasks involved in that part of the process. These charts can be considered as elaborate and extensive to-do lists with time frames on when you should be addressing each to-do item.
Self-publishing can be a confusing and expensive project for the novice author. Some authors use the ‘spray and pray’ approach, and end up doing things backward and wondering why such an expensive project did not work. Simplicity and organization is the key to success. Author Hank Quense approaches the task of self publishing in a multifaceted way. It’s not just about writing the book (usually the easy part). The nuts and bolts of ISBN, websites, marketing, budgeting, and additional extras to enhance the book’s appeal are also discussed. The author outlines a practical step-by-step approach, putting each aspect of the book process into its place for both the e-book and the print version. One can hardly go wrong with his clear mind maps and flow charts. It’s a good idea to print them out and pin them up next to your desk. He includes helpful links to areas such as creating press kits, and checking on service providers.
The book emphasizes the changing role of a self-published author: from being a writer, an author now becomes the CEO of his or her business. It is not enough to write a book and hope readers will buy it. It must be polished, produced, marketed, and nurtured after that. Marketing a book is hard work, but a logical approach will add to a book’s potential for success. Hank Quense will show you how in this eminently readable, useful guide.
First reviewed for Readers Favorite.