Review: Maximum Ride 3

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Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (Maximum Ride, #3)Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Saving the World and other Extreme Sports is the third book in the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. Picking up from where School’s Out Forever leaves off, the story continues at a furious pace. Back in 2007, I had started this book and given up on it. Without giving too much away, Max learns more about her past and how she and the other bird kids came to be.
Characters grow and change in this volume from previous books. Fang’s relationship with Max starts to get complicated.
Overall, I’m really glad I gave 3.5 stars as I am definitely interested in reading at least book 4 some time soon.

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Unbound Review

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Unbound (Magic Ex Libris, #3)Unbound by Jim C. Hines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! Jim C. Hines is an author to binge. I found Libriomancer earlier this year and read and loved it. Codex Born expanded the world and added a new layer to the magic. Unbound grabs the reader and jumps to warp 9 with a good story. Isaac has been stripped of his powers and is dealing with the kidnapping of his protege. Meanwhile there is an army of ghosts about to destroy the world and the world has been told about the existence of magic.
Jim C. HInes knows how to build a world that has characters you will care about and take them on a journey that expands and adds to their character as more than just violence and action. Isaac grows and is a bit different at the end of this experience than he was before.
I give this book a very strong recommendation, it did seem to drag a little bit at times but not so much that you would want to put the book down. If you haven’t read this series get on it now! This will definitely appeal to upper YA 15 and up.

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Cursed Child Review

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harry Potter is back. Cursed Child is the 8th story about the boy wizard. Now a father of three, this play focuses on Albus, the middle child. Harry and Albus don’t really have a great relationship. Albus doesn’t like having to live up to his fathers name and there is a great deal of conflict between them. When Amos Diggory shows up and begs Harry to use the time turner that has been rumored to have survived, to save Cedric, Harry refuses and Albus decides to do it.
It felt awesome to be back in this world again. But after three weeks I had to knock it down a star as I fully processed my feelings about this book. There are a number of plot points that feel drawn from fan fiction. There will be no major spoilers in this review but not everything feels Potterish. Albus and Scorpious are the best parts of this book as they both land in Slytherin and have to deal with the shadows of their I fathers.
Despite some flaws this play is a good addition to the series but I would not rank it any higher than fourth in terms of my ranking.

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Invisible Library Review

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The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, #1)The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman is a fast paced book themed mystery adventure set in an alternate version of London. Irene is a librarian at the Library. The Library is a multidimensional library that collects specific books from different dimensions. The library itself contains multiple portals to many different dimensions. Irene is given an assistant Kai and told to get a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales from a steampunkish London.
While there she realizes the book she is after has already been stolen because her contact is murdered. The blurbs compare it to Doctor Who. In some ways I guess this comparison works but only as much as they go to multiple realities. If Sliders was still on TV, it might be compared to Sliders instead. The mystery itself is well crafted and you are not sure who to trust as events force Irene to make allies in a reality where she does not know anyone.

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Career of Evil Review

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Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

JK Rowling is now the author of the Cormoran Strike series. Book 3: Career of Evil picks up with Strike and Robin gaining popularity. But being well known as drawbacks, and bringing criminals to justice can make you some powerful enemies. Robin and Strike have evolved to become more like partners than Detective and secretary. Robin’s husband, Matthew is becoming increasingly jealous of Strike and tensions are high for her at home.
But everything changes when Robin receives a severed leg. The police begin their investigation and focus on a suspect but Strike has three suspects of his own.
Strike and Robin both have a lot of character development in this third volume. The events from the previous 2 books have a strong friendship.
Rowling is a master at crafting a good mystery. There are red herrings and false leads throughout the novel. Filled with surprises Career of Evil does not disappoint.
This is one of the books that you should buy in Hardcover from your local bookstore. .

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New Reviews

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Farmer and the Poor GodFarmer and the Poor God by Ruth Wells
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Farmer and the Poor God by Ruth Wells is a Japanese folk tale about appreciating what you have. The story is about a farmer who is very poor and wants to have more money because he is hungry and has many children to feed. He feels that the god they have in their house must be a poor God who cursed them. As the family is about to leave the poor God starts to make saddles so he can go with the family. While the father dreads every being able to escape this poor God, he starts to make money off the saddles the God is making. Eventually, the family comes to understand what being rich truly means, when you have family and friends you are rich.
This is an excellent folk tale to share with children. In the era when Bruno Mars is singing about being billionaire it’s nice to read a story set in wholesome values of friendship and family.
In the end this book is a great title to borrow from your local library.

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Poseidon's Arrow (Dirk Pitt Adventure)Poseidon’s Arrow by Clive Cussler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The 22nd volume in the Dirk Pitt Adventure Series continues the formula that has driven the action since the 1970’s. In this volume a high tech futuristic motor has been stolen and it is up to Pitt to find the one responsible and find it and return it to the US Government. This series is like a Hardy Boys book jacked up with Indiana Jones and Bond style action. A terrific beach read! Hardcore fans who love the series may want to own this book but it does not stand out among the 22 volumes. In the end this is a volume you may want to buy used or borrow from the library to enjoy on the beach.

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Guest Post

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How Technology Has Changed the Way Children Discover Books

 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that computers have affected how we learn—how could sitting in front of a screen all day not alter the way our brains work?

For kids on the verge of learning how to read, this can be a difficult time for parents to sit down and use old methods for engagement, but resulting just to technology is not the way either. Instead, reach a happy medium between a regular bedtime reading session, supplemented with interactive games, traveling libraries, and opportunities for your child to learn new vocabulary with

Combats Shorter Attention Spans

Adults aren’t the only ones experiencing a change in attention. It’s filtering all the way down to the kids as well, and recognizing that children engage differently today than they did ten years ago is the answer to making great things happen.

From targeting our insecurities to sensory overload, the technology age and too much screen time has scientists believing our attention spans have dialed all the way down to 8 seconds. And for kids that are spending 6-12 hours in front a screen per day, it’s a lesson in how damaging technology can be to our concentration.

The good news is that Google’s vice president of research, Alfred Spector, has discoveries to be optimistic about; according to research, even average students can move to the top 2 percent of the class if they find a tutor or tools that can match the student’s thinking and learning style. With millions of avenues for discovery out there (thank you, apps!), this can be a great sign for your new reader.

Makes Reading Accessible

The days of spending hours at the library between the stacks, discovering new authors and new favorites aren’t behind us, partially because even libraries have updated with on-the-go, modern features such as e-books where you can check out library books for free online with the help of a VPN. But the great thing about the tablet is kids don’t have to leave the books, they can take them wherever they go.

Kid-friendly tablets range from the nabi DreamTab and Amazon Fire HD to the Kurio Xtreme 2 and Sprout Channel, and each is good for different learning levels. While the nabi and the Amazon Fire are outfitted for the older set, the Kurio and Sprout Channel are optimized for younger kiddos just getting started. Check out this parental guide from Top 10 Reviews for a breakdown of each device.

Engages with Apps

Kids already have a natural affinity for the tablets, so why not let them explore helpful games while they are enjoying some self-guided screen time? From learning vocab words to building storylines, these apps are kid tested for being fun, engaging and an excellent method for learning.

– Endless Alphabet: Use this app to help children learn valuable vocabulary words.
– Pango Free: Kids get the chance to interact with stories by shaking and jiggling characters to change the plotline.
– Encyclopedia Britannica: You can trust that when they have “what” or “why” questions that this classic tool is going to give them the correct facts every time.
– Playtales: If bilingual (trilingual or multilingual as well) is something you’re interested in, this app allows you to get movies in up to eight different languages, helping to bridge the gap and start kids with a new language.
– MeeGenius: With over 700 titles and new authors every day, children can learn by reading aloud themselves or letting the app be the king of story time with read-along options.
– Hop On Pop: Favorite author Dr. Seuss gets an app upgrade with this read-along app that helps kids recognize key vocabulary words through highlighting. Also has great read along voice recordings to make reading alone more fun.

Although all of these instantly gratifying tools for helping your child learn to read are awesome, they also should come with a bit of warning. Like anything, limitations are a great thing, so just make sure your kid has plenty of down time between play sessions, gets plenty of good exercise and stays hydrated throughout their time on the tablet. That way they can focus on their studies while they’re inside on the screen, and then play to their hearts content elsewhere—something scientists also say is vital to the learning process and a great help to promoting literacy!

Author Bio: Caroline is a blogger who splits her time between writing about entertainment and reading her way through the stacks at Barnes and Noble. Whether it’s written or watchable, great storytelling is her weakness, and she’s out to share the written (and spoken) word with the world. You can find her on Twitter @CultureCovC.