Monday, August 31, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey


Who holds your secrets?

Allie is devastated when her older sisters commits suicide- and it's not just because she misses her. Allie feels betrayed. The two made a pact that they'd always be together, in life and in death, but Leah broke her promise and Allie needs to know why.

Her parents hover. Her friends try to support her. And Nick, sweet Nick, keeps calling and flirting. Their sympathy only intensifies her grief.

But the more she clings to Leah, the more secrets surface. Allie's not sure which is more distressing: discovering the truth behind her sister's death or facing her new reality without her. 

REVIEW BY: Arianna, age 12 years, 9 months


I loved this book! It was a wonderful yet heart-wrenching read. 

My favorite character is Allie because I felt like I experienced the pain with her. 

My favorite parts are when Allie stands up to people because it takes courage to do that and she was very inspirational in that regard. 

I recommend this book to anyone who feels like reading a heart-wrenching story of love. I think older audiences should read this book because there are some inappropriate scenes and language for young readers. 

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 and up. 

This books publishing date is November 1, 2015. 

BOOK REVIEW: Smoked by Mari Mancusi


Once upon a time the world burned.

Until a girl and her dragon smothered the flame.
But the spark that ignited the apocalypse never went out.
And the scorch is about to begin…

When Team Dragon rescues Emmy from the government lab, they think the future is finally safe. But they soon discover that Emmy has a secret—a secret so dangerous it could trigger the very apocalypse Connor and Caleb were sent back in time to prevent.

As a dragon hunter, Connor has committed his life to saving the world. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to complete his mission…even if it meant betraying his brother and losing Trinity’s heart. Even if it meant doing the unthinkable.

But a desperate choice meant to prevent The Scorch, may be the spark that sets the world aflame once more.

The epic conclusion to the genre-bending Scorched series, which Melissa de la Cruz, New York Times bestselling author of the Blue Bloods series, called "A heart-pounding, twisty, time-travel fantasy.”

REVIEW BY: Angel, age 12 years, 10 months


This book is about the last dragon named Emberlyn and how her offspring are the end of the earth. 

My favorite part was when Scarlet found the baby dragons. This book was a bit confusing, but I recommend it for readers that love dragon tales. 

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 and up because of some inappropriate parts. 

BOOK REVIEW & AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Once Upon a Zombie by Billy Phillips


When Caitlin Fletcher’s mom disappeared (or left?) four years ago, Caitlin began suffering from breathless bouts of anxiety. Her new move to London, with her Dad and her brainiac sister, threatens to lead to more situations that will trigger panic. Now, she’s having anxiety over the possibility of having anxiety!
Caitlin’s life takes a turn for the bizarre when she’s tricked into climbing down a “rabbit hole” landing in a wondrous fairy tale universe —except it’s crawling with savage starving blood-eyed zombies. All the timeless fairy tale characters who once lived forever are now the living dead— think Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty. Even worse they’re famished. Definitely not the ideal situation for a vulnerable young girl prone to panic attacks.

REVIEW BY: Angel, age 12 years, 9 months


Caitlin Rose Fletcher writes for unexplained, so when her friend/crush Jack sees information about sightings of zombies, he wants to go check out the cemetery with Caitlin. He wants to go on Halloween, which also happens to be Caitlin's birthday. That's when Caitlin's journey begins starting off with a wormhole, zombie princesses, Lord Amethyst Bartholomew, the caterpillar and the Queen of Hearts. 

I LOVED this book. It is definitely my type of book with it being zombies mixed with fairy tales. I have to admit, this book is one of the best ideas for a book that I have ever heard of or read. 

My favorite part of this book is when Caitlin meets all the zombie Disney princesses (i.e. Snow White, Cindy/Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel. I especially liked the part of meeting Rapunzel because she reminds me of myself because she is determined and sticks up for Caitlin when the Queen of Hearts tries to harm her. Rapunzel is a great leader. 

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 and up. 

conducted by Angel

1. How did your idea of putting zombies and fairy tales together come about?

My oldest son David came to me and said I should write a Zombie book because of the popularity of zombies. My company owns the original Junior Elf children’s books which include Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood etc, so my immediate thought was to blend the two genres together.

2. Will there be any other books that follow up with this book? If so, I would be happy to review them for you. 

Once Upon a Zombie is trilogy. I am writing book two right now. The tentative title is Once Upon a Zombie, Book Two: The Lord of the Curtain. 

I will be happy to send them for your review.

3. What was your favorite part when you were writing this book?

The scene of Caitlin at the clay bank. I saw the whole scene in my head, visually, and it was just so cool to me. And the ending, the twists. Which I won’t reveal. SPOILER ALERT NOT NECESSARY!

4. How old were you when you started writing? How old were you when you started this book?

I was writing short stories and plays when I was in grade school. I was around 10 years old. Even younger. I would write stories and get classmates to act them out in front of the class. And I would write comedy sketches and variety shows and we would put on a show for the entire school. I wrote Once Upon a Zombie last year. I was 56. But I feel 18! My kids call me “teen dad”. Well, that's what I tell them to call me.

5. Where is your favorite spot (i.e. couch, garden, office, etc.) to write? 

Home office/Den. 

6. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everything. I feel like a sponge. I could pick the most insignificant item and then spin a whole web of story around it. I have to filter out the world around me every day to stay focused on one project at a time. The world is filled with endless inspirations for stories. And that’s because the world and our lives ARE story.

7. What kind of writing outline or method did you use to write this book?

I write a lot of scenes and plot/structure and dialogue in my head as I go for walks. Then I do a lot of freestyle writing, jumping and letting it come out and lead me. But I also do some outlining as well. It’s definitely a blend of all three. For me, different stages of writing a novel require different methods.

8. Which zombie character is your favorite? Mine is Rapunzel. 

Zombie Cinderella.

9. What is your favorite book of all time? Favorite author?

I don’t know if I can list one all time favorite book. My tastes change over time and I love variety. It depends upon where I was in my life during the read.

If I had to pick a few all time favorites I would say, Catcher in the Rye, is one of them. It blew me away when I was in Junior High School. Also, The Godfather by Mario Puzo. He took a pulpy, melodramatic concept and made it soar. I love A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. There is deep wisdom in that book, deeper than most people realize, in my humble opinion. I read it once a year. As a kid I loved Tom Sawyer. And also To Kill a Mockingbird. I think the best ever movie adaptation of a book is the film To Kill a Mockingbird. The acting, the music, the tone, the directing and pacing, it’s like a living novel. Favorite authors include Ken Follett. The Man from St Petersburg was amazing. He took a pre-World War I setting (potentially boring and dated for a thriller to be read in the 21 century) and the subject of anarchy (potentially dry and boring) and without any high tech gadgety and weapons like we see in today’s book and movie thrillers, and yet he whipped up a gripping page turner. He made it all fascinating and tremendously interesting. I learned a lot from that book. I only read it recently and totally loved it! I wish they would make it into a movie.

George R. R. Martin is a favorite because somehow he evokes scenes in my mind like magic. I’m not a fan of descriptive scene writing. I often skim over paragraphs when they are overly descriptive. But he did it in such a way that he evoked textures and feelings and smells, and emotions, igniting my senses of perception with his descriptive words and writing style and it blew me away. In Game of Thrones, I would study his sentences and paragraphs over and over wondering how he managed to conjure up such vivid experiences in my mind as I read. I see why it takes him so long to write a book because there is magic, power and deeply thought out design in every word and sentence that he writes. I am sad to say I don’t read enough fiction. I just don’t have the time. And my tastes also include non-fiction. I love non-fiction. 

10. How old were you when your first piece of writing was published? 

For various reasons, I only tried to get published in my late thirties and I was fortunate to have the book published on my first try. But I was ghostwriting.

11. Any other interesting facts about you. 

I often share lectures around the world on the subject of science and spirituality. I had the honor of lecturing twice at NASA. Once at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, and once at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.


Readers: Stay tuned because there will be a giveaway for an autographed copy of this book in the near future on 5 Girls Book Reviews. 

This books publishing date is October 1, 2015. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Hawthorn by Amos Cassidy writing as Jamie Cassidy


A house on a hill.

A house filled with mirrors. 
A house with eyes that watch your every move. 

“I hate it on sight. It’s dull and large and clunky, a creepy old house with a creepy house Learmonth Village has a history, a past that it holds dear, superstitions that it clings fast to. 

Learmonth House, however, is governed by its own set of rules, its own past. Gemma and her family are about to discover just what those rules are. 

Learmonth has a pact with the darkness… 

The darkness is hungry...

REVIEW BY: Arianna, age 12 years, 9 months


A family moves to an old house and weird things start happening. The village people have fangs and a dark presence speaks from a mirror. In some ways the evil presence seems to possess the youngest girl. 

My favorite part is when they get their new rooms because everyone is excited and happy. 

My favorite character is Danny because he is such a sweet little boy. 

I recommend this book for people who like horror stories. This book has inappropriate language so it should be read by older readers. 

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 and up. 

BOOK REVIEW: Holiday Hats for Babies - Caps, Berets & Beanies to Knit for Every Occasion by Debby Ware


These sweet and sassy baby hats will bring a smile to your face! 25 adorable patterns for every celebration of the year: Birthday Cupcake Cap, Halloween Hat, Holly Holiday Hat, Baby Chick Cap, Crystal Party Hat, Firecracker Topper, Leaf Peeper Cap, and more.

REVIEW BY: Arianna, age 12 years, 9 months


I love these gorgeous patterns. My favorite is the Peppermint Candy Cap because it is so beautiful and looks like a simple pattern. 

I recommend this book for knitters who love breathtaking hats and simple, easy, beautiful patterns. 

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 and up. 

BOOK REVIEW: Modular Crochet by Judith Copeland


Crocheting has never been faster and easier ― and the design possibilities have never been more exciting. This simple but innovative technique makes creating sophisticated-looking pullovers as easy as crocheting a scarf. All modular crochet garments are worked in the same basic shape, which consists of eight modules, or rectangles. You can make an infinite number of styles by varying the size of the rectangles, the type and color of yarn, and the stitches. What's more, you can customize each garment while it's being made for perfect-fit pullovers in any size, silhouette, and style ― and you'll never have to follow traditional written instructions again.

Nearly four decades after its initial publication, this guide remains among the most revolutionary and revered books on freeform and improvisational crochet. Even beginners can use its innovative method to make pullovers, turtlenecks, vests, ponchos, caftans, and other items. Easy-to-follow diagrams accompany each original design, in addition to 40 large full-color photos.

REVIEW BY: Arianna, age 12 years, 9 months


This crochet book shows a few patterns and many models of the patterns. 

I recommend this book for crocheters, like myself, who want to see what a finished product would look like. I do not have any favorite designs/patterns. 

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 and up. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Buzz Books 2015: Young Adult Fall/Winter by Publishers Lunch


This edition of Buzz Books: Young Adult provides substantial pre-publication excerpts from 20 forthcoming young adult and middle grade books. Now everyone can share the same access to the newest YA voices the publishing industry is broadcasting for the fall/winter season. Extensive publishing information, including promotion plans and publicity contacts, are included in this NetGalley version. At the end of most excerpts, you will find a link to the full galley on NetGalley! 

Excerpts include new work from established leaders in the field (James Dashner, Jennifer Donnelly, Patrick Ness, and Lauren Oliver), authors best-known for their adult books (Eleanor Herman and Cammie McGovern), and newsmaking titles such as the highly graphic History of Glitter and Blood, Illuminae, and The Thing About Jellyfish.

You will find a full range of YA titles previewed here —dystopian, romance, fantasy, sci-fi, humor, literary and more — and you will find some works for tweens and middle-grade readers. As always, many are sure to make bestseller and “best of” lists.

Four of our titles will be featured at this year’s Book Expo America convention on their own YA or Middle Grade Editors Buzz panels: Everything Everything, Nightfall, This Raging Light, and The Thing About Jellyfish. Plus, half of our 20 Buzz Books: Young Adult authors will be in attendance at BEA.

REVIEW BY: Arianna, age 12 years, 9 months


This book gave excellent excerpts of many books that would be a wonderful read. Some of my favorites are The Thing About Jellyfish, The Accident Season and Inherit the Stars. When I get time, I plan on reading these. 

I really don't have any favorite parts or characters because I liked almost all of the excerpts. 

I recommend this collection of excerpts for people who like all sorts of genres including mystery, fantasy, drama, and comedy. I hope you enjoy these excerpts. 

I give this collection 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 and up. 

BOOK REVIEW: The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis


Ages 12 and up
Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won't invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie's rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.
Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn't interested in rehabilitation, not when she's still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie's whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she's ever met.Ben's life isn't easy, but he doesn't see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn't have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she's currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the magnetic lead singer of Maggie's new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben's brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future...before she loses everything she has grown to love.

REVIEW BY: Angel, age 12 years, 10 months


Seventeen year old Maggie Sanders became blind six months earlier in this book and when she became blind she took a major turn in her life. When Maggie leaves her meeting with her probation officer she slips on  pastachio ice cream and suddenly she can see a ten-year-old boy named Ben. She becomes best friends with Ben and then discovers that his brother, Mason, is the lead singer in her favorite band. Ben says everyone has a "thing" and Maggie is on the lookout for hers. Mason soon gets suspicious that Maggie isn't really blind and that she is just using Ben to get to him. 

I recommend this book for anyone wanting a miracle. This book gives you that. This book is inspiring, along with its detailed descriptions and enchanting dialogue it gives readers a look into Maggie's life. 

My favorite part is when Maggie meets Ben because he is really funny and attractive from his type of behavior to his sense of humor. 

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 and up. 

This books publishing date is September 8, 2015. 

BOOK REVIEW: Undertow by K.R. Conway


Eila Walker knows luck is not a friend, so she is downright shocked to inherit a million-dollar Cape Cod home. And yeah, her new town isn't perfect: the cheerleaders are heinous clones, the local undertow can kill ya, and her Great Grams was supposedly fried by lightning in the harbor square. Still, Eila is hopeful her luckless days are in the past . . . until history decides to repeat itself.
When Raef O’Reilly becomes her friendly, yet weirdly protective shadow, Eila thinks life is pretty darn perfect – until she is hauled beneath the waves by an unnatural undertow. Revealing coal-black eyes and iron-like strength as he rescues her, Raef can no longer hide what he is . . . or what she can do. Eila, last of her kind, can supposedly channel the power of human souls, while Raef is more adept at stealing them. Even worse, the legend about her ancestor isn't such a myth, since Eila’s grandmother was one heck of a warrior until her lightning-like power backfired. 
A power that is written all over Eila's DNA.
Determined to stay one step ahead of a dangerous clan that is hunting her, Raef, along with a motley crew of high school rejects, will do all they can to protect her. But as hidden pieces of their brutal histories unravel, Eila begins to understand just what went down in the harbor square. She soon realizes that following in her grandmother’s fearless footsteps may be the only way to save those she loves . . . including Raef.

REVIEW BY: Michaela, age 11 years, 2 months


Ella is my favorite character in this book. My favorite part is when she spills her milk shake all over Nikki the mean bee. 

This book is good, but I had to skip a few parts because there are some words I am not allowed to read or say. Other than that, it is an excellent book. 

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11-16. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Iron Queen Book 3 of The Daughters of Zeus by Kaitlin Bevis


His love could destroy their world. 

Life is hell for Persephone. Zeus will stop at nothing to gain access to the living realm and the Underworld. As the only living god with a right to both, Persephone’s in trouble. Captured and tortured beyond the limits of her resolve, Persephone must find the power to stand against Zeus. But will she be strong enough? 

Meanwhile, Hades contemplates desperate measures to rescue his queen. Persephone never thought of herself as dangerous, but there’s a reason gods never marry for love. A being with the power to destroy all of creation shouldn’t place more value in one individual than the rest of the planet. But Hades . . . Hades would break the world for her. 

To save the world and stop both Hades and Zeus, Persephone must make a difficult choice. One that may cost her everything.

REVIEW BY: Arianna, age 12 years, 8 months


My favorite character is Persephone because she is powerful, amazing, and cares about the world and her family and friends. 

My favorite part is when Hades tries to rescue Persephone because he would do anything for her. 

I recommend this book for older readers who love mythology, drama, and romance. 

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 and up. 

BOOK REVIEW: Heaven Has No Regrets by Tessa Shaffer


*Based on a TRUE STORY* Faith and Makenzie weren’t just cousins, they were best friends. And no matter what life threw at them, no matter what they lost, they would always have each other . . . until Faith got sick, and time was like its own disease. Hear each girl’s struggle and survival from their own point of view as they tell their story of life, love, and letting go. Walk with the narrator as she moves through an unwanted end, to a new beginning. Keep moving through the emotional journey to find hope, find healing, and find out why Heaven Has No Regrets. "Grief has no rules. But there is one piece of advice that it whispers. If you listen, you can hear it through the rising smoke of death. It’s saying, 'Keep moving. Don’t look back. No regrets.' 

REVIEW BY: Angel, age 12 years, 9 months


Makenzie and Faith are cousins, very close cousins. They are best friends. When Faith gets sick Makenzie gets really worried that it will be the last time she sees Faith. 

Makenzie has a lot going on with her family and Faith doesn't feel like she's enough because her dad left her and didn't say goodbye. 

This book is highly recommended for ages 14 and up because of adult language and because of the subject nature. 

I don't have a favorite part because I didn't finish the book because of the adult language. 

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars because of the above and I recommend it for ages 14 and up. 

**Mom read book when Angel couldn't anymore and mom gives this book 3 out of 5 stars. It is a great book for older ages and is a tear-filled story. 

QUOTE BOARD: Into Coraira by Jamie Lee Mann

The publishing company sent us this as they will be using it. Arianna is ecstatic!

Thank you to Jamie Lee Mann and Talia Crockett! 

BOOK REVIEW: Ungodly by Kendare Blake


As ancient immortals are left reeling, a modern Athena and Hermes search the world for answers in Ungodly, the final Goddess War novel by Kendare Blake, the acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood
For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn't know could fill a book. That's what Ares said.
So she was wrong about some things. So the assault on Olympus left them beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods' illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved. 
But Hermes is still topside, trying to power up Andie and Henry before he runs out of time and dies, or the Fates arrive to eat their faces.
And Cassandra is up there somewhere too. On a quest for death. With the god of death.
Just because things haven't gone exactly according to plan, it doesn't mean they've lost. They've only mostly lost. And there's a big difference.

REVIEW BY: Arianna, age 12 years, 8 months


My favorite character is Cassandra because she never gives up even with all of the obstacles put in her path. She makes the reader themselves feel brave, strong, and courageous. 

I don't have a favorite part because the whole book was wonderful. 

I recommend this book for older readers. I think readers who love mythology, war, and magic will love this novel. 

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 and up. 

This books publishing date is September 22, 2015.