The Shadowing: Hunted

Hunted (The Shadowing, #1)

Callum Scott is predominantly a normal boy. He does well enough in school, plays rugby, and keeps a low profile. The only problem is that for as long as he can remember he has seen ghosts. Now his premonitions are growing and he is being chased by a large creature from another place. Life is about to get interesting.

Adam Slater’s The Shadowing: Hunted would be a mediocre paranormal young adult novel with characters who are screaming to be further developed. However, he has managed to weave new aspects into his brand new paranormal series which may just set the foundation for a great story.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

The Garden of the Purple Dragon

Garden of the Purple Dragon (The Dragonkeeper, #2)

In the second book in the Dragon Keeper series, Garden of the Purple Dragon,
Carole Wilkinson takes the story of former slave turned dragon keeper, Ping, to a new level. Faced with the dessertion of Danzi and the responsibility of raising his son, Kai, Ping is forced to grow in new ways. As always, Ping represents a strong female character in the middle grade fantasy genre and Wilkinson’s prose paints a beautiful picture of not only Ancient China but also of the diversity of human character. In my opinion, this is a buy-worthy series for families who enjoy reading aloud or individuals who enjoy reading on their own. All of my children have been excited over the series, and I like being able to share some books which portray females in strong roles, despite typical treatment of them in the era.

The Snowman’s Revenge

The Snowman's Revenge by Mark Smythe: Book Cover

Snow days are always more fun with a freshly built snowman. However, when the children in The Snowman’s Revenge head in to warm up and enjoy some hot cocoa, the snowman is left all alone outside in the cold. Hurt and lonely, he quickly comes up with a plan for revenge.

Mark Smuthe’s prose is entertaining, if a little choppy, enhanced by Mike Motz’s full color illustrations. Personally, I found the idea of the book to be creepy. My children, on the other hand, thought it was a fun read. It’s definitely a change from the happy singing snowmen, and for that alone, it’s a nice change (although still a creepy one).

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Dragon Keeper

Dragon Keeper

In Ancient China, a young slave girl suffers the abuse of her cruel master, making do with what she can scavange, her life looks rather bleak until the last remaining Imperial dragon makes an escape, taking her with him. Finding herself on a journey she never imagined and finally with a name to call her own, Ping agrees to help Danzi reach Ocean with his precious dragon stone. Faced with foes and falsely feared as a sorceress, Ping must use her creativity and cunningness to save them from enemies. Along the way, she not only learns from the ancient dragon, but finds herself and her own power as she learns that she is truly the last Dragon Keeper.

Carole Wilkinson’s Dragon Keeper is a hit with the young dragon loving audiences, but more importantly it showcases a strong female lead, something often not seen in popular children’s books and rarely in such a traditional male role, as the book discusses. I enjoyed reading the book with my children almost as much as they enjoyed listening. Many discussions ensued regarding Ancient China, Chinese culture, and the role of girls.

Cinder and Ella

Cinder and Ella

Cinder and Ella are two of four sisters. Both their older and younger sisters are selfish, their father quit doing anything to help the family before disappearing altogether, and their mother spins all day at her spinning wheel, effectively ignoring her daughters to the point that she has forgotten that Cinder and Ella are two individuals. Ella, tired of being forgotten and taken advantage of, sets out on her own, leaving Cinder to take care of the family.

Melissa Lemon’s telling of the Cinderella story, Cinder and Ella, is only marginally related to the original fairytale. With an evil prince on the horizon, and a story of living trees, the book’s closest tie with the original tale is the name of the book. While the book is a decent read, the characters, with few exceptions, just aren’t very likeable.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

Saving June

Saving June by Hannah Harrington: Book Cover

Harper has grown up in her older sister’s shadow. Then one day, shortly before highschool graduation, her perfect, gorgeous, popular sister commits suicide. Finding her sister’s body changes everything about her life. In a journey to find who her sister really was and to take her sister’s ashes to California, sixteen year old Harper Scott, accompanied by her best friend and a boy who holds a key to her sister’s alternate persona, begins a journey to discover who she is – more than just the second rate daughter rebelling against the unattainable perfection that her sister portrayed.

Hannah Harrington’s debut novel, Saving June, is a thought provoking young adult novel touching on a wide array of subjects – suicide, grief, atheism, virginity, family relations, political protests, abortion, and self-discovery. This would be a great book to read and discuss with more mature teens.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Yours to Keep

Yours To Keep (Kowalski Family, #3)

In order to keep her dear old grandmother from worrying,  Emma invented a finace, throwing in the name of one of her best friend’s in-laws on the spur of the moment. When her grandmother is scheduled to come visit, Emma must approach Sean, newly discharged from the army, and ask him to play along.

Shannon Stacey’s Yours To Keepis full of cliches, one liners, nosy relatives, and has an unbelievable set-up. That being said, it made me laugh out loud, which is something no book has made me do in quite some time. It’s a funny, light romantic comedy.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.