Middle-Grade Fiction Review – The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles

The Last Last-Day-of-SummerSynopsis: When two adventurous cousins accidentally extend the last day of summer by freezing time, they find the secrets hidden between the unmoving seconds, minutes, and hours are not the endless fun they expected.

Otto and Sheed are the local sleuths in their zany Virginia town, masters of unraveling mischief using their unmatched powers of deduction. And as the summer winds down and the first day of school looms, the boys are craving just a little bit more time for fun, even as they bicker over what kind of fun they want to have. That is, until a mysterious man appears with a camera that literally freezes time. Now, with the help of some very strange people and even stranger creatures, Otto and Sheed will have to put aside their differences to save their town—and each other—before time stops for good.  

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Grade Level: 5 – 7
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Versify (April 2, 2019)
Artist: Dapo Adeola
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1328460835
ISBN-13: 978-1328460837

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Middle Grade Book Review – Beyond the Doors by David Neilsen

Beyond the Doors Synopsis: 

When a family disaster forces the four Rothbaum children to live with their aunt Gladys, they immediately know there is something strange about their new home. The crazy, circular house looks like it stepped out of a scary movie. The front entrance is a four-story-tall drawbridge. And the only food in Aunt Gladys’s kitchen is an endless supply of Honey Nut Oat Blast Ring-a-Dings cereal.

Strangest of all are the doors–there are none. Every doorway is a wide-open passageway–even the bathroom! Who lives in a house with no doors?

Their unease only grows when Aunt Gladys disappears for long stretches of time, leaving them alone to explore the strange house. When they discover just what Aunt Gladys has been doing with all her doors, the shocked siblings embark on an adventure that changes everything they believe about their family and the world.

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The Midnight Glass by D.T. Vaughn

The Midnight Glass: (Middle Grade Fantasy)Every town has a secret… but Davenport has the darkest of them all…
Life is rough for eleven-year-old Wyatt Dumont. He’s too small to fend off his mean older sister, and the school bully picks on him every day. But life changes when his mother is offered a job in the secretive town of Davenport. Wyatt is excited for the move until he notices that some of the townsfolk are more than human. There s a man with green skin and gills, and a middle school teacher with red eyes and fangs! Even Wyatt s new classmates are a spark elf and a wulfyn–a werewolf, but don t call him that… or else!
Wyatt is panicked. But nothing alarms him more than the darkest secret of all: Davenport hasn’t seen the sun in over four hundred years. Wyatt quickly becomes obsessed with the town’s mysteries, and he begins to uncover the truth–one deadly secret at a time.

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Interview with David Neilsen – Author of Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom

Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the neighborhood kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell.

Only Jerry, Nancy, and Gail are immune to the lure of his extravagant wonderland. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up on the jungle gym, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery.


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Audiobook Review – Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Listening Library presents Grimm’s Fairy Tales (on sale 5/10/16)

Genre: Fantasy / Children’s Stories
My Rating: ***** (5 stars)


I was fortunate enough to get an advanced listen to this newly produced collection of Grimm’s fairy tales. (These are the original tales, full of violence and betrayal, and not suitable for very young children.) Full of favorite tales like Cinderella and Rapunzel, along with several lesser-known stories, and with such a spectacular cast of narrators, this audio collection is a treasure! I recognized most of the readers’ names, and even more of the voices in this collection. Jim Dale reading Rumpelstiltskin was a real treat, and there isn’t one bad narrator in the bunch. If you are a fan of fairy tales, or have a pre-teen or young adult reader at home who might be, don’t miss this one.

Rapunzel, read by Katherine Kellgren
The Six Swans, read by Davina Porter
Cinderella, read by January LaVoy
The Twelve Huntsmen, read by Dion Graham
Little Red-Cap, read by Simon Vance
The Goose-Girl, read by Edoardo Ballerini
Little Briar-Rose, read by Grover Gardner
Sweet Porridge, read by Jayne Entwistle
Little Snow-White, read by Kate Rudd
The Golden Goose, read by Luke Daniels
Rumplestiltskin, read by Jim Dale
Eve’s Various Children, read by Roy Dotrice
Snow-White and Rose-Red, read by Julia Whelan
The Elves, read by Bahni Turpin
A Riddling Tale, read by Janis Ian
The Twelve Brothers, read by Graeme Malcolm
The Sea-Hare, read by Mark Bramhall
The Frog-King
, or Iron Henry, read by Kirby Heyborne
The White Snake, narrated by Scott Brick
Hansel and Gretel, read by Robin Miles
The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces, read by Alfred Molina


NOTE: I received a free review copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own.

Kids Book Review – Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
by Chris Grabenstein

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Rating:**** (4 of 5 stars)

Kyle Keeley loves games. Especially games created by the fabulous Mr Lemoncello. When the new library comes to town and offers 12 lucky essay contest winners a chance to be the first to see it by participating in an overnight event full of food, games, and prizes, Kyle decides he has to be one of the participants. Even better, he discovers that none other than Luigi Lemoncello himself is the mastermind behind the incredible new library.

Once the overnight event is finished, Kyle and the other 11 winning students find themselves still locked in, and invited to participate in one more game. They have to find a way to escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s library. With the clues provided in the puzzles and games presented to them, and an entire library at their fingertips, Kyle and his team of friends have to use all of their wits to win the game and find the exit before time runs out.

This was a fun story full of references to books I loved as a kid. My daughter had fun trying to figure out the puzzles as the story went along, and it kept the whole family entertained. We’re looking forward to the next installment in this series.

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Kids’ Book Review – Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups

Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups
by Stephanie Clarkson & Brigette Barrager

Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups

My mom won a copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway, and had my 11 year old review it for her. Her review is pasted below – I would note that this book seems to be intended for a younger audience, but it is written in cursive, so any second or third graders who haven’t learned cursive yet might need someone to read it to them. That’s half the fun of kids books anyway though, right?

Cloie’s Rating – ***** (5 of 5 stars)

I really liked this book because it really changes my favorite fairy tale princess. It showed how the princesses really didn’t like their house and life so they switched with another princess. In the end the princesses learn to compromise with what they didn’t like so they could live a happy life. It changes the ending of the fairy tales and shows how they change their fate.

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