Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Iron Guy's Top 5 for 2011

Greetings, all you rocking and reading guys! I hope you all had great holidays and are enjoying the break. This is the time of year the grownups make Best Of or Top Ten lists for the year, so I'm going to present my Top Five books of 2011. (click on the titles to see the original reviews)

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff. Not only is it the top book of this year, it's one of the most remarkable books I've ever read. It starts off sort of slowly but, once the adventure starts, it's one wild ride!! I've rarely felt such suspense or danger in any book.

Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by the terrific Alan Silberberg. Another remarkable and extraordinary book. You've got humor, a very touching story and some good lessons about life. I can't say enough good things about this book---and it's way better than the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books! (at least, I think so--go back and check out The Great Greg Heffley Debate from this year)

The Lost Hero. Another winner from the great Rick Riordan. Although The Son of Neptune has more humor, this one has more action and heroics. Jason is a hero worthy to be included in the Percy Jackson series.

Vespers Rising by various authors. The 39 Clues continues with new and even deadlier villains! This one gives the background on the Chaill/Vespers conflict. Lots of action and some real people from history.

How Football Works by Keltie Thomas. An informative and entertaining book. It's got enough information to satisfy new or long-time football fans.

OK, guys, what were your favorite books this year? Click on that Comment tab under this post and let us know!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Great for the Holiday Break

Ah, yes, the holiday break should be in full swing for just about all of you. NO SCHOOL!! NO SCHOOL!! Ahhh--excuse me, I was just getting back in touch with my 10-year-old days. Anyway, there's two glorious weeks of NO SCHOOL!! and I thought it would be a good time to recommend some cool books and audiobooks. Audiobooks are great for those long rides in the car when you travel over the holidays.

So are regular books. The first is Alvin Ho: Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects and Other Man-Made Disasters by Lenore Look. It's the third in the hysterically-funny Alvin Ho series. Never heard of them?? Well, then, you're missing a lot of belly laughs. Alvin Ho is one of the funniest kids I've ever met and his adventures (and misadventures) never fail to make me chuckle, laugh, and guffaw. I bet you'll do the same once you read these. (What??? You say you don't guffaw? You will when you read these books!)

Alvin Ho is a second-grader who's afraid of everything. I mean, really afraid. So afraid, in fact, that he carries around a Personal Disaster Kit. In this book, he gets invited to a birthday party, but not just any party--it's a girl party!! What do you do at a girl party? But there's another party for the guys at the same time. Which one should he go to? Will he do the right thing?
That might seem like an extremely brief plot summary, but, believe me, there's a LOT more that happens in this book. And all of it's funny!! Just wait until you read about his trip to the homes of dead authors Ralph Waldo Emerson and Emily Dickinson (the authors dead for 300 hundred years), the cowboys and Indians game with second graders hyped up on sugar, what happens when Alvin sees Emily Dickinson at the mall, and the advice on what to do at a girl party. AND THEN---just wait until you see what happens when Alvin finally gets to the party!!!! I won't tell you which one and I won't tell you what happens, but if you don't laugh, well, you just can't laugh!

This book receives the Iron Guy Seal as One Terrific Book!

There's a new one out: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Dead Bodies, Funerals, and Other Fatal Circumstances. I've got a copy now and cant wait to get to it.

Speaking of Alvin Ho, there is a really great audiobook version of the first two books. It's The Alvin Ho Collection: Books 1 and 2 and it's read by an actual 10-year-old boy! It's really funny, especially when the reader tries to sound like Alvin's dad.

Another good set of audiobooks is the Hank the Cowdog series, written and read by John R. Erickson. These audiobooks are really funny. Hank is sort of a canine Barney Fife, all full of himself and not as smart as he thinks he is. The first audiobook is The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog. In this one, Hank, the "chief or ranch security" gets wrongly accused of killing a chicken and goes to live with the coyotes. But then the coyotes decide to rob the hen house and attack the ranchers. Will Hank join them? The second is The Case of the Falling Sky. The ranch's rooster tells Hank that the sky will fall but Hank is too smart to believe him--until Hank has a strange dream and Pete the Cat tells Hank that it's all true. What if they're right?? Hank will do whatever it takes to save the ranch, even if it means climbing on the roof of ranch owner Sally May's beloved and beautifully-waxed car. As I said, these books are funny and John R. Erickson does a good job reading them. And I've seen how much kids and grownups enjoy them--the kids in my wife's carpool beg for them, my father-in-law enjoys them, and I actually saw a kid snort macaroni through her nose while laughing at one!

Well, I hope you check these out but I especially hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

I may be Charlotte's # 1 Rick Riordan fan. The Son of Neptune is a good reason why. It's the latest in The Lost Hero series. AND--blow the trumpets--Percy Jackson is back in this one!!

Percy has two major problems as this book starts, though. First, he can remember who he is, where he comes from or why he has a pen that becomes a sword. Second, he's being pursued by the Gorgons, the two immortal sisters of Medusa. Why do they want to kill him? Why do they reform as soon as he kills them? The Gorgons eventually pursue him to Camp Jupiter, a place for demigods but with a big difference--everything in this camp is based on ancient Rome. In this camp, Percy meets two new friends, Hazel and Frank, who have strange powers of their own and some deep secrets. But soon they find that Gaea, the spirit of Earth, is waking and has sent an enormous army of monsters to destroy Camp Jupiter. If that's not bad enough, Death has been chained in Alaska or the monsters can never stay dead. Percy, Hazel and Frank are given the quest to unchain Death and return in five days. Can they get from California to Alaska and back in that short amount of time? Can they survive in an area that's outside the protection of the gods? Even if they do this, can they get back in time to save the camp? You'll have to read it to find out!!

If you do, you'll be in for a good time, as you always are with Rick Riordan's books. They are enough thrills, action, fights, danger, monsters, heroes, and impossible quests to satisfy any guy reader. PLUS--Percy Jackson returns in all his wisecracking and heroic glory! And when Percy is around, there's not only adventure, there are laughs! Just wait until you read about the Gorgon who wants to tell everyone about the low, low prices at Bargain Mart, the Roman ghost whose name means Mr. Underwear, or why why there is a feast for tuna. Thrills and laughs--how could you miss with a book that has all of these? Check this one, guys! Go Percy! SPQR!!!!

Needless to say, if it's by Rick Riordan, it's One Terrific Book!

Friday, December 16, 2011

OOPPSS!! Forgot to give the Seal!

I forgot something very important last Friday--I forgot to give this book the Iron Guy Seal of Approval as One Terrific Book!

Friday, December 9, 2011

It Happened on a Train by Mac Barnett

This has been a great fall and winter for new books. Especially new books in my favorite series. There was Goliath, last in the Leviathan trilogy, (see my review here), the latest Percy Jackson book, (I'm working on that one now!) and two 39 Clues books. But, if that weren't enough, we were also lucky enough to get the latest installment in one of my favorite new series, the Brixton Brothers mysteries. This one is called It Happened on a Train and it's by the highly-talented Mac Barnett. This book is so...

"Wait a minute," you say, "who are the Brixton Brothers?" Well, let me give you a little background. Steve Brixton is a 12-year-old boy living in California. He's obsessed with the Bailey Brothers books, a series of mysteries written in the 1950's. In the first book, Steve gets caught up in a mystery involving a book on early American quilts and national security agents (otherwise known as librarians). He solves that mystery and decides to set up his own detective agency called the Brixton Brothers. (Steve doesn't have a brother--he just thinks it sounds cooler) The second book involves another mystery involving the author of those Bailey Brothers books. (if you want to know more, see my review of the first book here and the second here)

Got that? OK, in this book, Steve takes all his beloved Bailey Brothers books out to the curb in a garbage can and decides he doesn't want to be a detective anymore (if you've read the second book, you'll know why!) His best friend Dana tries to talk him out of it but then a strange surfer dude pulls up, presents Steve with a really odd problem and asks Steve to solve it. Steve refuses, however, because he's a "retired detective." After that, Steve and Dana get on a train to go to a student United Nations but find some very mysterious things going on. Why is there an extra car on the train and why does no one want to acknowledge it's there? Who is the scar-faced man looking so intensely at Steve? Once Steve and Dana settle in to their ride, more mysterious things start to happen--Steve meets a girl who disappears (does it have something to do with that extra car?), finds out about a plot to steal fabulously expensive antique automobiles, and gets locked inside a sauna! Someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden. Will this be enough to bring Steve out of retirement? And, if so, can he survive it?

As you can see, there's enough mystery and suspense to get any guy hooked. But that's not all; you get a healthy helping of comedy thrown in too. And sometimes you get both at the same time! Just take the scene on the cover--there's Steve on top of the train, trying to track down the bad guy in just his bath robe and shower cap! This book will make you laugh, scratch your head at the mystery, and wonder how Steve will get out of his next tight squeeze. And the retro style of Adam Rex's illustrations fit the book perfectly. This is a great book for guys who like reading and even guys who don't. Some of the chapters are only two or three pages long and that helps the story move along as quickly as a train. So go check it out, guys! You will say, along with Steve and the Bailey Brothers, "This book is ACE!!"

PS--if you want to read an interview with Mac Barnett, click here.

PPS--Note to Sammer: I know you've checked out the Brixton Brothers books. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Football Works by Keltie Thomas

This is a great time of year to be a sports fan. You've got college football, pro football, college basketball and...well, we usually have NBA basketball now too, but this year it will be--different. (Don't get me started on that!) Anyway, Charlotte is a great place to be a sports fan. We've got the Panthers for football, the Checkers for minor-league hockey, and the Bobcats for pro basketball--that is, now that we finally get basketball! (Don't get me started again!) Plus, North Carolina has one the great roundball rivalries of all time--Duke and Carolina. So this is a good time of year to tell you about a really good book called How Football Works by Keltie Thomas.

It's only 64 pages long but it's chock-full of information and fun facts. You can find out about the basics of football--how it started, how the ball got its shape, what the playing positions are, etc. Then you can find out more, like information on the football field (how do they keep grass green in winter?) or what it takes to be a quarterback (you have to amazingly smart as well as strong) or just how much equipment a player wears (it's a LOT!) On top of that, there are very interesting sidebars, timelines, and a recurring section called Legends of the Game. This is an extremely interesting book and every football fan should check it out. If you're brand-new to the game, you'll learn what football is all about. If you're a long-time fan, you'll find out things you never knew. Either way, this book is a big-time winner. I was lucky enough to get a copy from the very nice people at Owl Kids Press, but you could find one at your local library. So hut one, hut two--make that run and get it!
(PS--there's even a sidebar about the Panthers's own DeAngelo Williams!)

This book get the Iron Guy Seal as ONE TERRIFIC BOOK!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Some Things This Turkey Is Thankful For

There's a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week. Here are just a few:

I'm thankful that the I finally got the latest Heroes of Olympus book. It's The Son of Neptune by the unbelievable Rick Riordan. I'm only three chapters into it, but WOW, is it terrific!!

I'm grateful that the next Cahills vs. Vespers book, The King's Ransom, comes out December 6.

And that the fifth Erec Rex book, The Secret of Ashona, comes out February 5.

I'm thankful for reader guys like Michael and Sammer who regularly write in and tell us about very cool books.

And I'm also thankful that we live in a country in which we can read the books we like without having to worry if someone will break down our doors in the middle of the night because of those books. It's not like that everywhere, guys. A lot of people in this world are not free to read and we shouldn't take it lightly.

OK, everyone, enjoy the day tomorrow and, if you're not too busy chowing down, tell us what YOU'RE thankful for!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Michael Tell Us About More Great Reads!

Once again, our good friend Michael, that book-reviewing machine, has written to us about more cool books. Let's see what he's liked lately--and get a load of his great new signature!

Diamond Brothers Mysteries, book 1
The Falcon's Malteser
by Anthony Horowitz
Meet 25-year-old Herbert Timothy Simple and his 13-year-old brother, Nick. After Herbert is fired from the police squad for incompetence, he changes his name to Tim Diamond and starts a private detective agency, Tim Diamond, Inc. But trouble soon brews as Tim and Nick are given a package by a man who is murdered the very next day. The two figure out that the package contains chocolate candy, and that somehow the candy is the key to a five million dollar fortune in pure diamonds. There are also gangters, famed killers, wanted criminals, and even a night-club singer after the fortune too, and they'll do anything to get their hands on the chocolate... even kill. Will Tim and Nick find the diamonds before it's too late, or will they be killed trying? This traditional-style mystery will have you wondering how the clues fit together till the very end.

Diamond Brothers Mysteries, book 2
Public Enemy Number Two
by Anthony Horowitz
Nick and Tim Diamond are back. When Nick gets framed for stealing a priceless jewel, he's sent to jail to share a cell with the mysterious Johnny Powers. What Nick wants to know is who Johnny and a bunch of other criminals are selling their stolen goods to. But Nick's quest for an answer leads him on a wild adventure that includes being cornered by a lion, jumping from a watchtower, collapsing a roof to a room underneath the thames river, blowing up a million dollars' worth of priceless items, burning Nick's French teacher with sulfuric acid, and much more! This is more of a thriller than a mystery, but it's one of the best thrillers I've ever read, and I highly recommend it to every reader out there! Great book!

Titanic, book 3
by Gordon Korman
Paddy Burns, Alfie Huggins, Sophie Bronson, and Juliana Glam are in for the time of their lives. And not in a good way. They're all on the Titanic, which was deemed unsinkable, but is now plunging into the depths of the sea. There are almost twice as many passengers as there are lifeboat capacity, and only one of the four kids makes it to one of them. The other three are left to fend for themselves. But this book is far from boring historical fiction. While the kids are escaping the Titanic, they are also escaping the notorious murderer Jack the Ripper, who is traveling in disguise. Now that the kids know his secret identity, he is determined to kill them for good: no easy task on a sinking ship. Paddy, the stowaway, is also continuing his escape from Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller, who is determined to have him thrown overboard or killed. Help from another ship is on the way, but with hours to wait, can the four kids survive the horrible night of April 15, 1912? With startling true facts about the actual event, this book is a step up from the previous two in the trilogy, and it's bound to have you on the edge of your seat and holding your breath until the very last page!
Michael Lanier
Pianist, guitarist, banjoist, autoharpist

Thanks, Michael! You're a man of many talents! These books really sound good. I'm glad that all three of the Titanic books were good. This one sounds particularly intense! And so do the Diamond Brothers bookS. Well, keep reading,Michael, and all you other readers guys out there.

Remember, these books are--

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sammer Claims His Prize(s)!

Our good friend Sammer came to the Myers Park library on Friday to claim his prize for winning The Great Greg Heffley Debate Giveaway. We were all glad to see him coming into the place like a victorious Roman general entering the city after conquering the barbarians. And, like the mighty man he is, he claimed not just one but two prizes from the ultra-cool prize box. Here he is with his trophies of victory:
As you can see, he's deliriously happy. And with good reason--he picked the second and third books in the Gregor the Overlander series, a true favorite with guys. While he was here, he checked out the first book, Gregor the Overlander, so he could read them in order. Wow, not only is he mighty, he's smart as well! (BTW, the second book is called Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane and the third is Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods)

Congratulations, Sammer, and enjoy your books! (and let us know how you like them!)
Sammer striking an Iron Guy pose

Sammer Does Not Rest on His Laurels

No, indeed! He's not content to simply bask in the glory of his awesome achievement; he's out there telling us about more great reads. On the same day he claimed his prize, he sent us these two reviews. What a guy!

Wow I can't believe I got the prize. But I'm here to report two interesting books today.

Number One:From the Mixed up Files of Mrs.Basil E. Frankweiler. A great book where Claudia, the main character, doesn't feel treated well enough. So she gets her brother and they run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. There they find a statue named Angel and they want to find out if MichelAngelo carved it or not.

Number Two:Fablehaven.Another great book. Kendra and Seth are leaving to their grandparents' house where they find out it is a magical preserve for magical creatures such as plotting witches,saytrs[goatmen],and demonds. Will they survive? Read to find that out yourself.

Thanks, Sammer! Several guys have told about the Fablehaven books but you're the first to let us know about From the Mixed-Up Files...We always appreciate your reviews. Guys want to know what's good and you're here to fill us in. So remember, these books have been recommended by a reader guy just like you and not just a bunch of stuffy old grownups. Go find these books, men, and keep in mind that they are--


Monday, October 31, 2011

Sammer Wins the Great Greg Heffley Giveaway!

Yes, indeed, our very good friend Sammer wins the chance to pick out a prize from our ultra-cool and ultra-rocking prize box. He gave us the best reason why he likes the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. (check out what he said here and here) OK, maybe he changed his mind a bit but that's just the sign of an open mind. Come on over to the Myers Park library and claim your prize, Sammer, and congratulations!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Michael Stikes Again!

Time to take a break from The Great Greg Heffley Debate for some more first-class reviews from our good friend Michael. (King of Books and Time Travel) Michael always reads the most interesting books and has been good to tell us about them. Let's hear what's rocked him lately:

SPHDZ, books 2 and 3
by Jon Scieszka
Michael K., Bob, Jennifer, and Major Fluffy are nearing their 3.14 million and 1 SHPDZ brainwave. But Agent Umber is closing in, and ther's suspicious things going on. AAA Agent Hot Megenta knows she can find the aliens in a heartbeat, but the chief won't let her and won't tell her why. Plus, Michael K.'s earth friends TJ and Venus are coming closer to knowing the secret of Bob and Jennifer. Also, Dad K. and Mom K. are mixed up in a secret conspiracy, but what they don't know is that they're actually working against each other! How will this whole situation end up? Find out in these two great books. They are some of Jon Scieska's greatest writings. Don't miss out on these!

Guys Read, book 2
by Jon Scieszka, M. T. Anderson, Patrick Carman, Gennifer Choldenko, Matt De La Pena, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Bruce Hale, Jarret J. Krosoczka, Anthony Horowitz, Walter Dean Myers, James Patterson, and Brett Helquist
This is a collection of ten short thriller stories by top best-selling writers. If you like book series like SPHDZ, The 39 Clues, Lunch Lady, The Missing, The Shadow Children, Daniel X, or anything like these, then this book is for you! These thrillers were written specifically for guys, because Jon Scieszka only picked authors that know what guys like to read. I was surprised to see a new story written by Walter Dean Myers. That guy's been a famous writer for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, I found only one story to be amusing and age-apropriate. That would be "The Double Eagle Has Landed" by Anthony Horowitz. It's the newest Diamond Brothers mystery. It was intruiging, funny, and it made my heart skip a beat. Everything else was not so great. I was shocked to see that even James Patterson failed to please. Horowitz put together a great tale, and I might just lok in to his Diamond Brothers Mystery series. Anyway, that's the only one worth reading in my opinion. The first book in this series was much better, Funny Business.

Thanks, Michael! We can always count on you to give it to us straight. And now I want to find out more about the SPHDZ. Don't you, guys?
But that's not all--here are MORE cool books he's read:

Stone Rabbit, book 6
Night of the Living Dust Bunnies
by Erik Craddock
It's Halloween in Happy Glades, and Stone Rabbit leaves his house covered in dust! He's too lazy to clean up once in a while. But he soon learns his lesson. Judy the duck has given Stone Rabbit a lamp that's powered by radioactive material. Well, what do you know, the lamp falls on Stone Rabbit's floor, which is covered in dust. The chemical reaction produces giant dust bunnies intent on eating everyone they see! Will Happy Glades ever be safe from these monsters? Read this hilarious comic book to find out!

Storm Runners, book 2
The Surge
by Roland Smith
Chase, Rashawn, Nicole, and Momma Rossi are safe in the Rossis barn during Hurricane Emily... or are they? The storm is throwing objects at the barn, and the lions and leapord from the Rossi Brother's Circus have broken out of their cages! Plus, the barn has light, but the generator is quickly running out of fuel. The only way to get more gas is to go to another building uphill, through the storm and wild animals. Will Chase do it? Is anyone safe from Emily? And will Hector the leapord and Simba the lion get a four-course dinner? Find out in this awesome book! Look for book 3, Eruption, plus Roland Smith will be writing a book in the Cahills Vs. Vespers series soon!

N. E. R. D. S., book 3
The Cheerleaders of Doom
by Michael Buckley
Gerdie Baker is trying to make a teleportation device. But when Heathcliff Hodges sends her the answer for her machine, it doesn't turn out to be teleportation at all. It's actually an interdimensional portal opener. Now, under the control of Heathcliff, Gerdie is taking over the multiverse! Who is Gerdie? What's Heathcliff up to? And will the NERDS actually help Heathcliff? It's all revealed in this amazingly written new book!

Wow, I didn't even know there was a N.E.R.D.S. book 3 until you told us! This is really good news. These books are awesome, guys--spies, comedy and action! And I've never read any of the Stone Rabbit graphic novels, although we have them in the library system. And Roland Smith is an author that I don't know about. He must be pretty good if he's going to write a Cahills vs. Vespers book.

So here you go, everyone--guy books recommended by a reader guy like you! Be sure to find them and check them out!

But Wait! There's More!

There's no stopping our good friend Michael!! While I was putting together the post up above, Michael sent us even more great reviews. Tell us all about them, my man:

Three of Diamonds
by Anthony Horowitz
Nick and Tim Diamond are back in three short mystery stories! Find out who's responsible for a man being crushed under a steamroller. For that matter, see if you can find out who actually died in The Blurred Man. When Tim and Nick win a vacation to Paris, strange things start happening. See if they can bust the criminals and find out what the criminals are doing in The French Confection. Lastly, Tim's old class reunion takes a deadly turn. Who's responsible for seven murders, and worse, can Tim and Nick get off the island they're trapped on? Find out in I Know What You Did Last Wednesday. Although I don't care for some of the language, I found all three stories to be mysterious, thrilling, and hilariously funny. When it comes to mysteries, it doesn't get any better than this! And check out the first Diamond Brothers book: The Falcon's Malteser.

My Weirder School, book 3

Mrs. Lilly is Silly!

by Dan Gutman

Mrs. Lilly visits Ella Mentry School. She's a newspaper reporter, and she wants to help the kids make a school paper called The Ella Mentry Sentry. A.J. thinks she's awesome! She twists story lines hugely out of proportion. For example, Mr. Macky was seen kissing his wife, Ms. Daisy. So Mrs. Lilly wrote: Mr. Macky Kisses Married Woman! A.J. is loving everything about her, and, best of all, Mrs. Lilly hates Andrea! Could things get any better? What will happen to the paper? Will Mrs. Lilly manage to get it all over the world? Does Mr. Klutz really wear underwear? And, will Mrs. Lilly get away with printing untrue garbage? Find out in this awesome book! Dan Gutman's getting better with each book he writes! Don't miss out on reading this book!

Thanks again, Michael! A lot of guys like the My Weird School series, so it's good to hear that the school gets even weirder. Speaking of mysteries, I'd really like to know if you've read any of the Brixton Brothers books and what you thought of them. I'm reading the third one and really enjoying it.
All right, go check these out too! These books have been read and liked by a real guy just like you which means they are--


Friday, October 21, 2011

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

The Iron Guy has just finished a truly terrific book. It's Goliath by Scott Westerfeld and it's the third book in the Leviathan triolgy. I've been a HUGE fan since the first one, Leviathan , came out in 2009. (see my review here) Then came Behemoth last year (see that review here) and that left me waiting impatiently for this third installment. And, boy, was it ever worth waiting for!! All the thrills, excitement, action, battles are here as well as the incredible machinery and strange fabricated animals you saw in the other two books.

In case you're new to the series, here's the background--It's 1914 and the European powers are on the brink of war. Sounds like our own history, right? Well, this is an alternate history and the world is divided into Clankers, those who use walking war machines, and the Darwinists, those who manipulate DNA to fabricate animals. When Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand's parents are assassinated, the world plunges into war and he runs into the mountains to hide form those who don't want him on the throne. In the meantime, a Scottish girl named Deryn Sharp dresses like a boy to join the British Royal Air Service. An unlikely series of events throws them together and the first two books recount their adventures.

As Goliath opens, they are headed across Siberia en route to Japan when they get an urgent message from the Czar. They are to rescue Nikola Tesla, a brilliant and possibly mad scientist. Tesla claims to have invented a weapon (called Goliath) that can destroy whole cities. Prtince Aleksandar becomes obsessed with getting Tesla safely to New York, believing that the threat of such a weapon could stop the war. Deryn isn't so sure, though, but she has enough troubles of her own, trying not to let anyone know she's a girl. Does Tesla ever make it to New York? Will the great European powers just sit idly and let Tesla test his Goliath? Or will they do what they have to in order to stop him? And what will happen if people learn about Deryn's secret? And just what will Alek do if Tesla actually starts up his weapon of hugely-massive destruction?

This is just a brief description of what happens in this terrific book. Along the way, there's a battle off the coast of China, hungry giant Russian war bears, an attempt by Alek and Deryn to run a radio antenna on top of the Leviathan in the middle of storm at sea, and an intense ending that will have you gripping the book so tightly that you knuckles will turn white! Not only is there action and adventure, you also get to meet real people from history, like Pancho Villa and William Randolph Hearst. You science freaks will also get all the stuff about "aeronautics," that is, flying aloft in an enormous flying fabricated beast. So this book has something for everyone!!

Don't miss it, guys!! I had a LOT of fun reading Goliath and so will you. In fact--

Goliath receives the Iron Guy Seal as One Terrific Book!

So, achtung!! Get up and get it macht snell!! Don't waste any barking time!!

The War to End All Wars by Russell Freedman

Attention all you Leviathan fans!! Here's a book about the REAL World War I--and it's a truly great read! It's The War to End All Wars by the very talented Russel Freedman. Don't know much about WWI? Well, you'll find out here and, once you start, you'll keep turning pages until you're done. This is amazing story and Mr. Freedman is a terrific writer.

As in Leviathan, the war begins in June 1914 with the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. The great powers of Europe think they have foolproof plans to conquer their enemies and that the war will be over by Christmas. They are not prepared for what happens, however. Technology has progressed and weapons have become more deadly and the Allies and the Central Powers become locked in a long and deadly struggle.

This book tells all about those struggles. You'll read about the Battles of Verdun, the Somme, and the battles at sea. There are tales of incredible endurance and heroism, arrogance and stupidity, and unexpected friendliness at Christmas. As I said, Russell Freedman is a very talented writer and he makes the events move right along. He doesn't give just a bunch of dry and dusty facts; he makes the story and the time come alive. He also quotes letters from the soldiers who were actually there, adding more depth and feeling to the story and making us remember that this is not just a story but real events that happened to real people. And I have to let you know that some of the events were terrible. War is an ugly business and some of the sights the soldiers describe are horrific. Keep that in mind when you check this out, guys. Or parents--you might want to check this out for older guys. But if you do, you'll find a book that you won't want to put down until you've read the very last page. I know that was true for me! And you'll find that this book is not thick, slow or boring. You could easily read it in one afternoon, just as I did. So check this out and learn a fascinating story about a time that a lot of people don't remember anymore.

The War to End All Wars receives the Iron Guy Seal as One Terrific Book!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More and More Voices in the Great Greg Heffley Debate!

Yes, indeed, readers everywhere are knocking the doors to give their opinions in the Great Greg Heffley Debate. (don't forget that the one who gives me the best reason why the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are great or why Alan Silberberg's book Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze is better wins a prize!) The first person to weigh in Is Super Simran, who won the March Madness Contest this year:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is much better than Milo or whatever!

Thanks Super Simran, but we need a little more. We want to know WHY Diary of a Wimpy Kid is better. Write us back and tell us, OK? We'd love to know!!

The next person is someone new--lets' hear him:

Greg Rules. Yea thats the ticket!!!! Gimme Prize, Gimme Prize!!! This is not by the way, Library Ninja Bill, not at all. Don't even know the guy.

Karate Guy Will

Thanks, Karate Guy...WAIT A MINUTE!! This sounds suspiciously like my good friend Ninja Librarian Bill over at the Boys Rock, Boys Read! blog. Trying to sneak up on me to get a prize, huh?? Well, it won't work. The Iron Guy exercises his brain as well as his iron muscles and I see through your disguise. Nice try!!!
(BTW, there's a Great Greg Heffley Debate going on over there too. Take a look)

Next is our good friend Sammer, the first voice in this Debate:

I have never heard of the Brixton Brothers but, it sounds pretty good to me. I said I liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid but, I like Maniac Magee better. the 3 part thriller winning the newberry medal. It's like no other book I've read (Which is a lot.) so I'm on both sides of this.

You are so right--Maniac Magee is like no other book. A lot of thrills and a lot about growing up. Interesting comparison. (BTW, speaking of the Brixton Brothers--this is a BIG reason I run this blog--to tell other guys about books they don't know about)

Last of all is another good friend, Ms. Yingling. She's a librarian in Ohio and runs such a great blog--Ms. Yingling Reads--that we gave her the ultimate compliment and made her an Honorary Guy. Let's hear what she says:

Don't count me in the contest, but I have to agree with you that Greg is annoying. I want to slap him. I can't find him funny, because if he were a real kid he would be causing so many of his own problems. Milo was okay, but the one I really like is Big Nate. he means well and is so exuberant, but things just don't work out for him.

Well, all of the grownups seem to agree with me that Greg Heffley's a jerk (see my original post about him here) while kids seem to take the opposite tack. So am I wrong? Am I right? Tell us and you could win the prize in the Great Greg Heffley Debate Giveaway!