Friday, August 29, 2014

How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks

How to Catch a Bogle (Bogle #1)Birdie works for a bogler named Alfred Bunce. Bogles are monsters that hide in chimneys, caves, and sewers. Alfred spears the bogles after Birdie sings and acts as bait to lure them from their hiding places. It's very dangerous work, and a woman says there may be a safer, more scientific, way to kill the beasts. Birdie fears she won't be needed anymore, and pleads with Alfred to keep bogling. However, he takes on one more job that may be their last. It seems there is someone else summoning the monsters, hoping to trap them. He's not happy with Alfred, and it may cost Birdie her life.

I've read many books with monsters, but this plot offered some new twists. Using children as bait and and having a monster hunter question the danger of his job made the story more interesting. Birdie was a spunky character, and she struggled with some internal conflicts. She lived a dangerous life, and she was offered a chance to live in more comfortable surroundings. I found each meeting with the bogles provided periods of suspense, and the plot led to a thrilling climax. I highly recommend the book!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Elevator Ghost by Glen Huser

The Elevator GhostCarolina Giddle is a new babysitter in the apartment building, and she has a talent for storytelling. Specifically, her talent is with telling ghost stories. She also has a pet tarantula and likes to talk to the spirit of her dead aunt at the Blatchford seniors' home. She babysits for mischief-makers, scaredy-cats, and other children with special issues, but her stories always improve the situations. How to stop a child from painting on the wall? Tell a story about a painting of a giant monster that comes to life and destroys the building.

For the most part, this book is a collection of short stories. Each chapter introduces kids with different problems followed by Carolina Giddle's stories to change them. Readers won't find the stories scary, but I could picture her lighting candles in dark rooms to spook the toddlers. Overall, it was an enjoyable book.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Feral Child by Che Golden

The Feral ChildThis book is a 2014 release that I found at my local library. Maddy lives with her grandparents in Ireland after the death of her parents. She's hard to handle, and it only gets worse when her three-year-old neighbor disappears. You see, Maddy saw a faerie take the little boy in the middle of the night, and everyone thinks he's safe after he's found outside an old castle. However, Maddy knows the boy has been replaced by a faerie, and she decides she must venture into the faerie world to save him. She must face all of the dangers in her imagination and survive the journey to find the Winter Queen.

I was surprised at how well this book captured my interest. I can't put my finger on the reason, but it was easy to read and created a great feeling of mystery and adventure. I expected a cute story with faeries in it, but there were some pretty ruthless characters. The setting had a Narnia feel to it, with the queen and talking creatures. Some were friendly, some were not, and some seemed to change sides. Maddy had to deal with her internal demons before she could complete the quest. Overall, a very entertaining book.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Silver Rings by Samuel Valentino

The Silver RingsThis book is 2014 release, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Alice and Celia are twin sisters, and they run away from their evil stepmother in search of their fairy godmother. The godmother tells them they should separate and go out on their own, dressed in lizard costumes. Alice finds a handsome prince, and he tries to do all he can impress her. Meanwhile, Celia is turned into a frog by an evil witch and can only be rescued by a prince's kiss. Sound familiar? Well, there are also goblins, giants, and ninja geckos. The twins wear silver rings to keep track of each other, and Alice must search for her sister when her ring signals red for danger.

This plot is a mixture and twisting of familiar fairy tales. Cinderella, The Frog Prince, and Puss in Boots are included. The silliness adds humor to the story, but it can become annoying if you don't have a tolerance for it. I enjoyed being able to predict the events in familiar stories, but I was able to appreciate the unexpected changes made by the author.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Hypontists #2: Memory Daze by Gordon Korman

Memory Maze (The Hypnotists, #2)This book is the 2014 sequel to The Hypnotists. Jax and his family flee from Dr. Mako, because the doctor is out for revenge. Jax is going to a new school, his parents have new jobs, and Braintree has traveled with them in order to develop Jax's hypnotic powers. Jax is the offspring of the two most famous hypnotist families in history, so he may become the most powerful hypnotist of all time. Mako starts to kidnap other mind benders, hoping to discover Jax's location. A dying billionaire hires Jax to help him survive long enough for a new medicine to be created, but Braintree warns him there may be serious side effects. The sessions get more intense, and Jax discovers he may have a missing brother. Why have his parents kept this secret from him? Does Liam have the power too?

The hypnotic sessions with the billionaire are the most confusing part of the plot, but just remember the images are the man's memories, not Jax's. I liked how the author mixed Jax's confusion to understand the billionaire with Mako's search. Braintree's character was a bigger part of this plot than in the first book. I also appreciated how his character dealt with the moral issue of using the hypnotic power for personal gain. He felt it wasn't right and tried to convince Jax and the other mind benders that it was wrong, not always successfully.

The Hypnotists #1 by Gordon Korman

The Hypnotists (The Hypnotists, #1)Jax discovers he has the power to make people do anything he wants them to do. This is a little scary when he tells a bus driver to get him to the gym as quickly as possible. Other cars, traffic lights, and pedestrians beware! Jax is invited to a school with other hypnotists, and Dr. Mako helps him control his power. However, a mysterious man meets Jax on the street and tells him that he shouldn't trust the  Dr. Mako, and that Jax's parents carried the bloodlines of the two most powerful hypnotist families in history. This fact means Jax may be the most powerful hypnotist in the world. Dr. Mako says hypnotism should only be used for good, but when is making other people do things against their will a good thing? A video is made of Jax, and he senses the doctor is using it to hypnotize other people. Jax doesn't know why Dr. Mako is doing this, but the doctor may be using his power to control the next president of the United States!

Jax is learning to use his new power, but he's confused about who he can trust. The plot reads like an adventure or mystery as Jax tries to discover the truth. I expected him to become friends with Kira, another top student, but that didn't really happen. I'm not sure why she was included in the story.

A Dark Inheritance by Chris D'Lancey

A Dark Inheritance (Unicorne Files #1)This book is a 2014 release, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Michael saves a dog from jumping off a cliff, and witnesses say Michael seemed to appear from nowhere. It turns out he's able to change reality. He has the power to imagine different events and cause them to become true. A group called UNICORNE contacts Michael; they investigate unusual and supernatural events. Michael's father disappeared three years ago, and he had secretly been working for this group. To discover the truth about his father, Michael must learn more about the dog and its former owner, Rafferty. He discovers the mysterious story of a girl who died in a bike accident, and he learns more about a strange girl from school. There seems to be an unusual connection between organ donors and the patients who receive them. Michael must use his power to uncover the secrets, but his gift may be the end of him if it can't be controlled.

This book requires some imagination from the readers. Michael's ability to change events was easy to understand, but it got a little confusing when he entered the minds and memories of others. Character's memories tended to change, so I needed to be flexible as I read. The plot made me think, and I like that. It became clear that Rafferty, the dog, and the classmate were connected in some way, and this connection was slowly revealed. I wasn't sure if UNICORNE was good or bad, and I'm still not sure even after finishing the book.