Friday, November 25, 2016

Reid Claims His Prizes

Hey, everybody, and happy day-after-Thanksgiving greetings! I hope you had a good day yesterday. I know I did. And now we have one more reason to be thankful--our good friend Reid came by the library to claim his prizes for winning the World Series of Reading Contest. Here you see him striking a pose as he picks up his prizes--no doubt he's showing us how knocked it out of the park to win!

As you can see, he won a set of the first four Harry Potter books, a door hanger and a digital stopwatch. Reid really impressed me as he got his prizes. He already had the first four Harry Potter books. I asked him if he'd like to pick out some other books but he said, no, he'd give these books to a friend. Now that's a MANLY MAN!

Enjoy this long weekend, guys, and let me know if you read any cool books or listen to any good audiobooks. I hope to spend some quality time with The Crown of Fire. I've read the first three or four chapters and already there's been an escape from a gunfight, a reappearance of a mysterious assassin and a book that shrieks! I told you these books are good!

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Crown of Fire--- The New Book For Which This Turkey Is Majorly Grateful!

Stop Everything!


The latest book in The Copernicus Legacy series has just arrived! Woo-hoo! This is great!! This is really, really---wait a second. I'm getting carried away. The Iron Guy must show his usual manly restraint at the good news:

WHOOPEEE!!!!!! This is GREAT!!!!!!!!!

Ahem, this is what I had in mind:

That's more like it.

(BTW, I got that clip art picture from In all seriousness, I usually write a post around this time of year to mention things I'm thankful for. I'm doing one early because I've just received The Crown of Fire by Tony Abbott, the latest and final book in that terrific-beyond-words series by Tony Abbott. Do I seem a bit enthusiastic? You bet!  These books really are that good. You get thrills, mystery, secret relics hidden for generations, puzzling clues, a world-wide evil organization, badly-outnumbered heroes--and Galina Krause, the most despicable and fascinating villain to come along in a long time and the center of all that mystery. 

You say you haven't read any of The Copernicus Legacy books? Then what are you waiting for?? Go check them out! Now! As I said, they are that good. Start with The Forbidden Stone, the first in the series. Don't forget to check The Copernicus Files books too; they're a couple of "in-between" books that take place  between books 1 and 2 and books 2 and 3. 

Every few years an author bursts out of nowhere to surprise and delight us with a series that's new, exciting and totally unlike anything else. Rick Riordan did it first with Percy Jackson, then Phil Bildner and Loren Long gave us the Barnstormers/Sluggers books and now Tony Abbott (though he has been around quite a while) has "wowed" the world with The Copernicus Legacy. People like him keep reading fresh and fun and for that I'm very grateful.

Wait a minute---did I say this book is the final one in the series?? Awww, man! I wanted more!! 
Oh, well, the Iron Guy will take the disappointment, as he always does, like a truly MANLY MAN:

Oh, forget it! Go check out these books. You'll enjoy them a lot. And let me know how you like them.

PS--the book that you see in these photos is one that Mr. Abbott sent me himself. And he signed it! Thanks, Mr. Abbott!

Update--Today is Monday and it's the day for It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Check it out and see what other cool books people are reading.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The People Speak!

We held a poll called "If Boys Could Vote, Who Would Be President?" with Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, The Incredible Hulk, Willy Wonka and Annabeth Chase as candidates. People voted and guess who won?

That's right--Annabeth Chase! It was a close race. Luke Skywalker came in second with HarryvbPotter next and Willy Wonka last. Poor Hulk got no votes ("Hulk sit in cave and cry now!") Thanks for participating, everyone.

And watch this blog over the next week or so. A new book (well actually, the final book in a series) is coming out that the Iron Guy truly is excited about. Not just excited but over the top, beside himself, counting down the days until it's here excited. What is it?? Stay tuned!!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Reid and Justin in an Epic Duel to the Last Inning!

Wow! What a great finish to the World Series of Reading Contest!  And what an amazing similarity this whole contest has had to the real Series--that game went into extra innings because of a tie between two great opponents, Chicago and Cleveland. This game went into extra innings because of a tie between those two great opponents, Reid and Justin. Both teams scored in the last innings and Reid and Justin have both sent in reviews this weekend, which was the "extra innings" for this contest. Which reviews should we print first? Hmmm--let's go with Justin's:

The School Story by Andrew Clements

Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publishing Date: August 1st, 2002 by Atheneum Books

Summary: Goodreads: "Two middle school girls scheme to publish a book in this novel from Andrew Clements, the author of Frindle.

Natalie's best friend, Zoe, is sure that the novel Natalie's written is good enough to be published. But how can a twelve-year-old girl publish a book? Natalie's mother is an editor for a big children's publisher, but Natalie doesn't want to ask for any favors.

Then Zoe has a brilliant idea: Natalie can submit her manuscript under a pen name, with Zoe acting as her literary agent. But it's not easy for two sixth graders to put themselves over as grown-ups, even with some help from a couple of real grown-ups who are supportive but skeptical. The next bestselling school story may be in their hands—but can Natalie and Zoe pull off their masquerade?"

What I liked: Ok, so I think the biggest thing that I appreciated about this books was that it, like a character in the book, really hit home to my heart. This book pretty much embodied the inner sixth-grade novelist in me, the sixth-grade novelist which pushed me to start this blog. That was my goal, to get a book published, be famous, and this book really hit home, which is why I loved reading it. Of course, Andrew Clements always continues to write really good content, which is why time and time again I enjoy reading his books.

What I didn't like: This book is crazy unrealistic in every way shape and form. This book is like the Lawn Boy series: it only works because of two things- luck and craziness. Like seriously, I know Clements tried to sell off the fact Zoe managed to convince a teacher to let her be a literary agent and all of that, but I mean seriously, what are the chances? And at another point, how does Natalie's book manage to actually be seriously considered. The book says something about how she really wrote about how a kid thinks and all of that, but at the end of the day, plot movement, character development, etc. kind of matter. I don't know if I'm just going on a worthless spiel, but I was a little irked by that.

Rating: 9.1 out of ten

Why? I fell in love with this book after the first chapter or so. It started off fast and it never let up. Absolute amazing writing.

This one is The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Group: MG
Publishing Date: March 1, 2010 by Amulet Books

Summary: So after Dwight and his Origami Yoda save Tommy from humiliating himself in front of the whole school (Basically, he stopped Tommy from asking this girl to dance practically two seconds before another guy runs over and kisses her), everyone in the school listens to Origami Yoda's advice, except for Harvey, and honestly he has good reason to. Dwight is part of "that group (you know, the type of kids who make Origami Yoda puppets) so I guess it makes sense not to listen to one of "them" for advice. And yet, kids do, with success. Let's say you break an English Teacher's most prized Shakespeare head? No problem, Origami Yoda says to make a new one with play-doh and sure enough, you're not in trouble! But towards the next dance, after some shady things happen with Sara, Tommy's crush, a new Origami Yoda has popped up, and it is made by non other than our good pal Harvey. Suddenly, the next dance comes up, and Tommy needs to make a move on Sara, or else she'll be hopelessly lost to Tater Tot. In a hilarious and clever star-wars-themed middle school book. Tom Angleberger keeps you interested and intrigued by the curious world of Origami Yoda.

What I Liked: First off, I loved how Angleberger chooses to make a character like Dwight, who trust me is really "out there", a main character, because in most books, those types of kids are usually forgotten. Angleberger has really captured not just a certain part, but the entirety of the atmosphere that envelopes your down-the-road middle school. Also, the book is written so that all the challenges and struggles are turned into hilarious scenes. There wasn't really a time where the book got "serious" or "intense" and it's one of those books where you just ignore it because the plot line is so interesting and hilarious.

What I Didn't Like:  I mentioned it above: the book never got "serious" or "intense" I mean, I would've preferred some sort of rising and falling action, which while there was a little, it wasn't enough to make my stomach turn into knots the way a really driven book is. Another thing I'd like to mention is that the ending is based on a point that is mentioned throughout the book, almost thrown in the middle as a forgotten idea until ALAS, you needed to know the speck of info to understand the ending. Finally, the book is just...weird. Like it talks about Dwight's weirdness and it jumps a lot back and forth between subjects. It's not bad...just not a lot of people's cup of tea you know?

Rating on 'the scale': 8.3 out of ten.

Why?: Again, it's not bad, just...interesting. Although the hilarity and the most realistic middle-school book I've written just won me over, so I give this book a big thumbs up.

Finally this is "The League" by Thatcher Heldring

Summary: Wyatt Parker is your typical goody-two-shoes. Never lies, plays golf,  probably will become valedictorian, and built like a pencil, which is why he's friends with Francis (his golf partner who's exactly like him) and gets beat up by Spencer Randle, you typical big football player who's a bully. As Wyatt has realizes, football players don't get beat up, and get girlfriends, which is practically preached by his brother Aaron. After another encounter with Spencer Randle, and a hate for the game his dad forced him to play, he decides to play football. At first, it's only two hand touch with some people he kind of knows at the park, but then he wants to go full contact, with tackling. His brother then talks to him about the League of Pain, a group of the biggest and baddest kids where they play football without any protection...with no rules. To get to play in this league, Wyatt has to do something he hasn't ever done... lie, to his parents even to the girl next door who he likes. Even if Wyatt manages to get to play in the league...will he survive?

What I liked: The great thing about sports fiction novels is that it always includes a taste of romance, which like in every novel, moves the plot along and makes it really exciting. I also appreciate how these characters develop and change throughout the story. For example, Wyatt isn't happy with his life so instead of dealing with it and trying to make the best of it, like in a lot of the books I read, he changes it, and even though it was towards a bad way, I kind of like the moral it sends, most likely unintentionally. Just the fact that it brings sports to the novel makes it really good for me, because I don't know, but sports in books just make me happy.

What I didn't like: Well, in my opinion, the biggest flaw was that it's a little bland. There's not much going on, nothing that gives the book a wow factor. While the content starts to creep into the YA area, it's written sort of like a lower-level MG area. It's kind of hard to describe, but these days, every book has that X Factor which gives it something special, which is why you pick it up. It just felt like one of those stereotypical MG books, but that doesn't mean it's bad. It just doesn't have the special factor which made it over the top.

Rating on 'the scale': 7.9 out of ten.

Why? It's just your generic football MG book, which isn't bad at all, but it's not really special. If you're feeling tentative about sports fiction, it's a good book to get you into things, especially if your one of those people who just don't care for sports at all.

Related: Football Genius Series by Tim Green/ 15 minutes/ Honestly if there's the word football on the book jacket, it's related.

Wow! Three reviews! Good work, Justin. Now let's see what Reid has sent us:

I like The Fourteenth Goldfish by, Jennifer L. Holm because it is about science. Also it is great because it is so well written. It is about a scientist that found out that you can change your age to whatever age you want. He uses it himself to make himself the same age as his granddaughter. Her grandfather has weird habits that embarrass her in front of her friend Raj. Ellie realizes that the age-changer had been a terrible mistake because now people could be immortals. Can she stop her grandfather before it becomes public? I like this book and would recommend it for anybody who likes science

Yep, that was a good one. Thanks, Reid! 

Well---who's the winner?

According to the rules, each of Justin's reviews were worth one point each, which means that he got three points. Which gives him a total of six points. And, according to the rules, Reid's review  was worth four points, making it a Home Run and giving him a total of seven points and making him the winner! Well done, sir! Come on over to the Myers Park library to claim your prize. And, Justin, we haven't forgotten you. I'll be in contact and get you a prize as well. Not that the Iron Guy believes that every one who plays gets a trophy but I did say that the top three boys got prizes, so I'll be true to my word. 

Well done, both of you! Many thanks for an exciting contest and sharing some good reads with all the other guys out there. And don't let it stop here! I've enjoyed posting your first-class reviews, so please keep them coming. Same thing for all of you other reader guys. There are a lot of good books and graphic novels and biographies and nonfiction these days, so tell us about them and share the excitement!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

If Boys Could Vote---

---then who would be president? Good question! Based on what the Iron Guy has seen over the years,  especially from the books boys have read, these would be some of the choices:

Harry Potter
Party: The Magical Thinking Party
Slogan: "If you listen to most candidates, they sound like they'll solve all our problems by magic. Why not elect a REAL magician?"

Luke Skywalker
Party: The Light Side of the Force
Slogan: "I can fly an X-wing, I have Jedi training and the Force is with me. What more could you want?"

The Incredible Hulk
Party: The REALLY Green Party
Slogan: "Hulk SMASH nation's problems!!"

Willie Wonka
Party: Candy for Everyone Party
Slogan: "Good children get chocolate. Bad children get flushed down tubes. That's a lesson kids and grownups would do well to remember."

Hey! HEY!! Wait a minute!!

Yes, who's there?

It's me, Annabeth Chase. What makes you think only boys can run for president? There's a female running right now!

Yeah, you're right. OK, let's hear your info:

 Didn't I already tell you my name?

Yes, you did.

All right, then. my party is the RAD Party (Real Athena Daughters--sorry about the lame title. Percy came up with it)
Slogan: "We ancient Greeks invented democracy!"

Very well, everybody, there's a poll on the right-hand side of this blog that lets you vote. Here's your chance, boys, girls and grownups. Make your choice! Let your voice be heard! This poll will close at 11:00 pm on November 8 and I'll announce the results on November 9. May the best candidate win!

Extra Innings!

Wow, did you see last night's game? What an unbelievable end to an epic series! A hard-fought battle, a come-from-behind score and extra innings. Then the Cubs won their first championship in 108 years! People will talk about this Series for a long time. 
Well, just like last night's game went into a tie, guess what? The World Series of Reading Contest has gone into a tie! That's because our friend Reid has made an eighth-inning hit that tied the game. He sent a review last night that tied the score with our friend Justin. Let's see what Reid has read:

I have read Frank Einstein and really like it because it is so funny. I had never thought that it was possible to make science and engineering that hilarious. Also I really like the fact that they put diagrams to show what they are talking about. That way I can literally follow along like I'm actually doing it. I'll say that this book would be great to anybody who likes science, engineering, challenges, and projects. 

Thanks, Reid! I really enjoyed that book. (see my review here) Jon Sciezska writes terrific stuff and runs a really good website about books boys will like. Well, that review was worth one point and your review of Spy School was worth two points, so that gives you a total of three points, tying your score with Justin's.

Hmmmmm--this has never happened before. What should we do?

Of course! We'll go into EXTRA INNINGS!

That means that Justin and Reid (or any other boys) have until midnight on Sunday to send in some more reviews. I'll post the results Monday afternoon. (I won't be at the library this weekend) OK, guys? Step up to that plate and swing for the back fences!
Oh, man, doesn't everyone enjoy an exciting World Series?

PS--while we're continuing the game, watch this blog later today for a surprise event!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Reid Steps Up to the Plate

Just as the World Series has gone to the last day by a Chicago Cubs win, the World Series of Reading Contest has gone to the last day by the sudden appearance of our good friend Reid. He has sent us a review of Spy School by Stuart Gibbs. Let's hear what he thought about the book:

Spy SchoolI think Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs is a great book because it catches your attention immediately and dives right in without any stops along the way. It's the follow up to Spy School and is just as good. It is about a boy named Ben who is being targeted by an enemy organization named SPYDER. But after a little while they realize that that was all just a setup to lure a great spy out of hiding. They capture him and he gives up the coordinates to a place where the president and some british leaders are staying. Can Ben stop their nefarious plans once again or will SPYDER take their lives???

Thanks, Reid! Wow, this book sure is popular! Two boys have reviewed it for the contest. I must read some of these books one day. Anyhow, reviews of this book are worth two points, making it a Double. That puts Reid right behind Justin, who has three points. Will Reid hit another Double and pass Justin? Will Justin take a swing with another review and score more points? Or will someone else come out of the blue and upset these two front runners? Don't forget that you boys have until midnight tonight to send in reviews and get points. I'll announce the winner around the middle of the day tomorrow.

The Chicago Cubs--The Cleveland Indians--one of these teams will be the World Series champion before tomorrow. And Justin, Reid or another boy will be the champion of the World Series of Reading before tomorrow as well. Who will it be?? Oh, the tension mounts!