Saturday, November 27, 2010

Starting the Holiday Season Right Wtih a Review From MICHAEL!

Hey, all-you-stuffed-full-turkey-guys out there, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. We certainly did at our Tomas stronghold. This year we did what we usually do--eat lots of turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce and then press 250-pound weights, runn 10K's up steep mountains, and wrestle alligators. Yeah, we really decided to take it easy this year!

OK, enough goofiness. The holiday season is upon us and I can't think of a better way to start us off than with a review from our good friend MICHAEL, King of Books and Time Travel:

by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Note: In order to understand this book, you will have to have read the other two books in The Missing series prior to Sabotaged.
Jonah and Katherine are at it again, this time helping Andrea, who is really Virginia Dare. But when Andrea loses the Elucidator, they have no contact with JB. What's worse, they're also working against a mysterious being who is known as Second. Trying to find Andrea's tracer is no easy task, especially with two tracer boys who have yet to be filled. Who is Second? Who belongs in the tracer boys? Will the three-some ever find Andrea's tracer, and, more importantly, get back to the present? Find out in Sabotaged. I think this book was really well written. I expected it to be rushed, considering it came out so soon after Into the Gauntlet. But I was pleasantly surprised. Haddix explores even more depths of time travel and the limits of tracers. If you like time travel in the least, get a hold of this book!

Thanks, Michael! I read the first book in this series and liked it a lot. (It's called Found--see my review here) This one sounds really good. What's that you say, guys? You want to know what an Elucidator is? Or a tracer? You're just going to have get these books and find out!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Old Book Prospector Strikes Gold AGAIN with Erec Rex!

HOWDY, PARDNERS! It's yore friend, the Old Book Prospector. Even though I'm at a new ranch, I mean branch, I'm out there all the time, digging up great books for boys. I'm here to tell you that I've struck pay dirt once again!! This time it's Erec Rex: The Three Furies by Kaza Kingsley. This is one terrific, book, I tell ya---more adventure than searching for lost gold and more humor than even a hyena could laugh at! It kept me up many a night around the campfire. Why, I even let my prospecting tools get all rusty because I couldn't tear myself away from this here book.

Yep, I'd say that The Three Furies is one of my best best picks.

One of my best PICKS!! Get it!!! Hee, hee, hee, that's a regular knee-slapper!!

Yeah, yeah, Prospector, go tell your jokes to the coyotes.

Hey, guys, it's Carl again. All silliness aside, The Three Furies really is one terrific book!! The great Kaza Kingsley has written another unbelievable addition to the Erec Rex saga and this may be the best one yet.

Erec is now 14. He's completed five of the quests he needs to become one of the three kings of the Kingdom of the Keepers. The problem is that Thanatos Baskania, the Shadow Prince, has captured his best friend Bethany and is combing her mind to find the Final Magic that will enable him to dominate the world--or destroy it. But that's not the worst of it--Baskania has made a deal with the Three Furies who have been imprisoned in Tartarus for thousands of years. He's agreed to release them if they will serve him. But can even he, as powerful as he is, hope to stop the Furies once they're free? And what can Erec possibly do against such overwhelming forces?? I mean it, if you like fantasy, adventure, danger and humor, then you will completely and totally enjoy The Three Furies.

One more thing--if you want guys want to stop reading here, you can do it. Some guys just want to find out if a book is any good or not. If you're one of those, you could stop right now--especially if you're going out the door to get this book. But if you don't mind my going into a little more depth, then keep reading.

I've said this before with all the Erec Rex reviews but let me say it again. What separates a good fantasy story from the really great one? It's the sense of wonder. That means the feeling of living in a place that's so overwhelmingly beautiful or scary or magical (or all of the above) that it makes you stop and say, "Wooww!" Not many stories do that. There are lots and lots of good, exciting fantasy stories out there and I enjoy them all, but very few of them give me that sense of wonder. The Lord of the Rings did and so did the Percy Jackson books. And so does Erec Rex. That's why I get so excited about them. Guys, you just have to visit his world to believe it. You won't soon forget what it's like in The Nightmare Realm, nor will you enter a place as dangerous as Baskania's fortress. It still creeps me out whenever I see all those eyes sink back into Baskania's body and the brief visits to the beautiful lands of Otherness take my breath away. These glimpses into wonder keep me coming back for more and more. I bet you'll feel the same. Besides, Ms. Kingsley tells one great story! Don't miss this one, guys! Or any of the others. But let me give you a hint--it's probably best to read the other books first. This book will make more sense that way. But I don't think you'll mind--reading the other three is better than a Cloud Cream treat!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We'reThankful That MICHAEL Writes In!


Hey, once again, reader guys everywhere! I know I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. Even with all the changes that have happened with the library, there are still a lot of reasons to be grateful--this blog is still running, there are more good books coming out all the time, and there are still faithful reader guys like Michael, King of Books and Time Travel, who continues to tell us about terrific books. He has just sent us two excellent reviews:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, book 5
The Ugly Truth
by Jeff Kinney
Greg Heffley is officially not friends anymore with Rowley Jefferson. They had a big fight, and they're over with. But while Greg unsuccessfully searches for new friend, his misadventures continue. From school sleepovers, to Uncle Gary's fifth wedding, to getting "the Talk" from Gammie, Greg must come face to face with the ugly truth. This book has the same Wimpy Kid humor that we all love, but half of it is crude, and I'll admit that the writing isn't as good. Although this is not one of Kinney's better books in this series, I think that you will still find it thoroughly enjoyable.

The 39 Clues, book 11
The Black Book of Buried Secrets
by Mallory Kass
Guess what? The 39 Clues is real. The books were a collection of biographies passed off as fiction. How do I know? Allow me to explain.... From the seven agents that brought you The 39 Clues (they called themselves authors) comes a book that is filled with every known secret of every branch. All five of them. Justin Beiber, Barrack Obama, and Steven Spielburg are just a few of the top secret Cahill agents. This book includes stories of branch founders like Annie Oakley and Winston Churchill and even the original Cahills themselves. Also included are agent updates. Find out what happened to all of the Clue hunters after Into the Gauntlet ended, and more importantly, find out what is to come. This book also features guest appearances of the top online agents (they call themselves players in the online game): WiseSaladin1 and Onyxeagle7. Don't waste another minute. Get this book, read it, memorize it, and keep it close at hand. The enemy is at the gate.

I always knew it. The Cahills are everywhere. I've got a copy of this book reserved and can't wait for it to come in!! Thanks, Michael, and have a great Thanksgiving--and all you other guys too!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Interview With Somone Who's Both a Reader Guy AND a Writer Guy!

Hey, all you patient reader guys out in blogland! I appreciate your waiting around in between posts. We've got something really exciting today. Let me give you a little background first. One of the blog's faithful followers is Susan Kaye Quinn, a writer who also runs a book blog called Ink Spells. (it's pretty cool--go check it out!) It turns out that she has a 12-year-old son who not only reads but is writing his own sci-fi book! Pretty good, huh? I also found that he goes by the uber-cool name of Dark Omen. Then, one day, I saw this conversation on Ms. Quinn's blog:

A 12 year old View of the World

My son Dark Omen (age 12) is writing a novel. He's been diligently working on it for some time now (since the summer). We discussed it over dinner.

Me: What genre is your story?

Dark Omen: Well, it's science fiction and adventure. And mystery, too. But no romance.

Me: No romance?

Dark Omen: No! Why would I write a scene about that, when I can be writing about the Carillions attacking the base?

Me: Are there any girls in your story?

Dark Omen: *makes face* Of course! It wouldn't be even if there weren't any girls.

Me: So, there are girl characters and boy characters in your story. They just don't fall in love.

Dark Omen: Well, somewhere in the universe of my story there are probably girls and boys falling in love. I just don't waste words writing about it.

Well said, Dark Omen!! Why waste words on romance and all that stuff when there are space battles!! It was obvious that I had to know this guy better!! So I emailed his mom and got permission to quote from her post and also to ask him some questions. Then I emailed him some interview questions (most of them are the same questions I ask grownup writers) and, being a truly great guy, he answered all of them and sent them back. Here's what he said.

What made you decide to write a book?

My class was making “Exquisite Corpse” books (books where everyone takes a turn writing in them). I started my book and left it out for people to write in. When nobody did, I decided to take it home and write the whole thing myself.

Tell us a little about your book. (no spoilers!)

The book starts out with a bang when Exibluar is rescued from an underground tunnel complex in which evil ewoks were chasing him. Aidan Dawn is a Cavalieri with great skill with both mind powers and computers. Steve Irwin is a slightly less powerful Cavalieri with a knack for adventure. Nathaniel Lil is a highly disciplined Galactic Government soldier. Exibluar Hazahat is a quirky Rosarian who’s future may be invaluable to the galaxy at large…

Tell us about some of your favorite books.

I like Harry Potter (all of them), Artemis Fowl (all of them as well), Star Wars (yes, all of them), Ranger’s Apprentice (same as the last three times), Percy Jackson (…make that the last four times), the Leviathan trilogy (I don’t know why I’m still making these), the Hitchhiker’s Guide series (I hope you get the point by now), and many more.

Why is it cool for boys to read?

I don’t know why it’s “cool” per say, but I do know that for me it is enjoyable as well as educational.

Why is it cool for them to write?

I hate to say so, but most of the people in my class (and even my school) groan when a teacher tells them to write something (or even take out their writing/Language Arts notebooks)

Why are grownups so obsessed with romance and kissing and all that mushy stuff?

In a nutshell, I have no idea. Personally, I fast-forward through love scenes, never write them, and have my heart set on buying lots of cats instead of getting married.

What's it like having a mom who's a writer?

The only differences are that

a)S She has a blog about writing

b)S She has written several novels and published one


Sh She's always on the computer

Sh She sometimes come into the school to give talks about writing.

Which do you like better--cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?

I like pizza better, with either pepperoni or cheese.

Thanks, Dark Omen! Yeah, reading is enjoyable and educational--and most guys don't think the two can ever go together!! That's one reason I run this blog--to prove that those two words CAN go right next to each other. And it thrills me to no end to hear from reader guys like you who believe it too. And there really such things as evil ewoks?? Interesting!!

Well, Dark Omen was also good enough to send us a excerpt from his book-in-progress. Here you go:
“It fired missles!” Steve yelled, “They’re 200 yards behind us!”

“Jump coordinates set!”

“150 yards!”

“Navigations computer calibrating.”

“100 yards!”

“Initiating acceleration to Ultra-lightspeed!”

“50 yards!”


“What in the galaxy is happening?” exclaimed Steve.

“I TOLD YOU to fix those stress points, Exibluar!” Aidan slammed his fist on a large flashing red button. Vviiissssss!

“I’ve dropped us out of Ultra-lightspeed, we’re still in the Erian system, except now we’re by Erian VII instead of Erian IV,” Aidan announced. “If we had continued any longer, we would have exploded.”

“It’s amazing how many ships we go through in one day,” observed Steve. “Isn’t it, Exibluar?”

“Don’t blame me!” Exibluar retaliated.

“Why not?” Steve shot back.

“Because…uh…I…” Exibluar struggled to find an excuse.

“Let’s just go down to Erian VII,” Nathaniel suggested.

Wow! Very good, Dark Omen!! Makes me want to read more--which is what a good book is supposed to do! Would you mind sending us more excerpts as you go along? And send us some reviews of your favorite books. (I'd especially like to hear what you thought of Behemoth) Thanks again and here's hoping we hear from you again!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

THANKS to Mr. H and Mr. Westerfeld!!

Oh, man! Oh, MAN!! This is just TOO COOL!! Our brother bloggers at the SMS Guys Read blog were lucky enough to have Scott Westerfeld, author of Leviathan and Behemoth, visit their school on 10-22. (They wrote about it on their blog--take a look here) I had commented on their blog that I wished I could have been there and they took pity on me and sent me a momento of Mr. Westerfeld's visit. And it arrived just today! Here it is--a signed copy of some of the artwork from Leviathan:,The guys from the SMS Guys Read also signed the envelope:

One signed himself "Super Extremely Awesome Guy." I think that describes all of you! Especially you, Mr. H. And most especially you, Mr. Westerfeld! Leviathan is an amazing book and I'm looking forward to getting into Behemoth. (It's next on my list after Erec Rex) Thanks again, everybody!