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The Serpent’s Shadow is the conclusion to the Kane Chronicles authored by Rick Riordan. Mr. Riordan also wrote the Percy Jackson series, most of my peers have heard of him – not to mention, he is one of my favorite authors. I love his writings because Mr. Riordan puts his own spin on Greek, Egyptian and Roman mythology. I really enjoy reading books about mythology. I guarantee if you like the Percy Jackson series, this is another one you will completely enjoy.
Sadie and Carter Kane are siblings. They are either best friends or arch enemies of all Egyptian Magicians. The Magicians are people that use Egyptian artifacts to aid them in their lives. Sadly, most of the Magicians are enemies of the Kane children because they believe that the Kanes abuse the God’s powers.
One night, Carter and Sadie have to raid a museum because they need to get the scroll of Selme. This scroll is so special because it holds the key to destroying Apophis – a giant serpent that wants to destroy the world so he can rebuild it and become the ruler. This is easier said then done. All at once the Kanes and their trainees (students) are in a full-out battle with Apophis and his minions. Luckily Sadie has a spell that freezes time. Sadie grabs the scroll and runs out of the museum.
Once Sadie and Carter get back to the London house (their “base”), they find out that to defeat Apophis, they must destroy his shadow. The reason they need to destroy the shadow is that his shadow contains part of his soul. They go into the most evil part of the Duat. The Duat is where the Gods dwell. They almost immediately find the shadow because of its size and destroy it. Since they saved the world, the Sadie and Carter Kane gain great honor with the mortal magicians and humans.
I enjoyed this book because Mr. Riordan uses the old Egyptian myths which I was not familiar with. I appreciate that Mr. Riordan took the time to put in a glossary. I did not know what an ankh was but I learned that it means life. The detail in this book was great.
There are two morals in this book. One is saving others is better than saving yourself and the other is to never give up. Carter and Sadie showed this when they took on the task of saving the world and all that lived in it. They both knew they could easily die but that was not an option. We all should make sacrifies!
Gilda Joyce and the Ghost Sonata was my favorite book in this series. I liked it the most because when Gilda is solving the mystery the author does not jump from one clue right to the next – she allows you to wrap your head around the story and the clue.
In this story, we have Gilda’s friend (Wendy) traveling to Oxford University (in England) to participate in a young pianist competition. It is decided that Gilda will travel with Wendy and help her at the competition. She will be the page-turner. Upon arriving, Wendy finds a tarot card on her floor showing the nine of swords card. This symbolizes bad luck and misfortune. Oddly enough, all of the competitors got bad luck tarot cards as well.
One night, just before the competition, Gilda and Wendy are walking on a trail and find an abandoned church and graveyard. They see the tombstone of Charles Prummand - he died during a piano competition. Gilda goes to the Oxford library and does a bit of research about Mr. Prummand. She learned that he created a beautiful sonata in A Minor before he was hit by a car and died. Wendy played Mr. Prummand’s piece at the competition but was disqualified. Apparently, the music needed to be by either Bach or Beethoven. An English boy named Julian won the competition. Before leaving Oxford, Gilda finds a box of tarot cards in a bag belonging to Jenny Pickle. She was also a contestant in the competition and was trying to frighten everyone in hopes of winning.
I liked this book because Gilda is funky and very determined. That determination helped Gilda through this case. I also liked the book because you would never know what happens next. You want to keep reading to find out what is going to happen next. If I had to state one negative, it would be that Ms. Allison was a bit too detailed and it slowed down the read a bit.
The moral of the story is give a hand to people who need it. When Wendy needed help from Gilda, Gilda did not hesitate one bit. She was there without hesitation. We all need to be a bit more like that.
Although I enjoyed the previous book in this series, it had too many gory details; however, The Case of the Putrid Poison, there were not as many gory descriptions. As you know, I like adjectives and descriptive words/phrases but I like for them to be “happy” ones!
We open this story to find that Wilma, Detective Goodman and Inspector Lemone are at the Valiant Vaudeville Theatre to watch a performance. In the middle of the show, the Mind Reader (Sabbatica) grips her neck and collapses on stage. The audience is baffled about what caused Sabbatica’s demise! Wilma, Detective Goodman, Inspector Lemone, along with Pickle (Wilma’s dog) realize that they must get to the bottom of this case – and fast.
The detectives go backstage to look for clues. They meet Mrs. Wanderlip, the Ventriloquist, and Countess Honey Piccio bawling over Sabbatica’s body. Then Dr. Kooks (the town’s forensic scientist) studies Sabbatica’s body … he notices an odd white foam dripping from Sabbatica’s mouth (kinda like drool) emitting a nasty odor. He deduces that the foam is a poison.
Leaving the Theater the detectives meet Cecily Lovely, an actress from the theater. They also meet Ms. Lovely’s poorly treated assistant, “Scraps” (this is her nickname because it describes the clothes she is always wearing), who is always doing the tasks that Ms. Lovely does not want to do. Ms. Lovely puts on a “big performance” about how upset she is about the recent death.
Once they meet everyone in the theater they hear of the legend of the Magic Mezmo, a magician who has a wooden hand because a trick went terribly wrong. One day, Wilma was walking ont he shore and found a jar of seaweed and a wooden finger. Wilma decides to go undercover and be an act in the show … she becomes Maude Muddle and Pickle is her “cat” Pizzaz.
Dr. Kooks has spent quite a bit of time studying the foam. He discovers the poison was made from a fatal seaweed – which was put on the actors as “grease paint” (the actor’s put this on their skin so that the costumes to not itch their skin). What does that mean? It means the culprit is putting poison on all the actors! The detectives then make everyone take their gloves off and discover that Scraps was Magic Mezmo who wanted to get revenge on the Valiant Vaudeville. The reason behind the revenge was that Valiant Vaudeville did not want anymore accidents … like the one that took Scraps’ hand.
In this book, Ms. Kennedy gave you a suspense that kept you wanting to read more (which is what I did many nights after my Mom thought I was asleep). The moral is that doing things for others is more important than doing things for yourself. Wilma put herself in harm’s way when she went undercover in the show. I am going to practice this more!
Alice-Miranda is a talkative, energetic and enthusiastic young girl who loves all things. She is also extremely smart (sounds a lot like ME). It is because of her extreme intelligence that she gets a try at the academy/school. The Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale is a school for proper young ladies. Alice-Miranda gets the feeling that there are “issues” almost immediately and she has plans to fix them.
First, Alice-Miranda finds the cook (Mrs. Smith) crying because the headmistress/principal (Ms. Grimm) doesn’t like any of the items being made in the kitchen. Next, she hears the gardener yelling. The gardener has the girls call him “Charlie” but Alice-Miranda decides to call him Mr. Charles. Mr. Charles was upset because Ms. Grimm did not want him to plant any flowers on the school grounds and he believes the school looks sad without flowers and color. She decides to go to Ms. Grimm but she is quickly dismissed. What does Alice-Miranda decide to do…takes matters into her own hands.
She lets Mr. Charles plant his own flowers. As for Mrs. Smith, she goes on a much-needed holiday (we also know this as a vacation) to America and during that time, Mrs. Oliver (the cook at Alice-Miranda’s home). For several weeks, Ms. Grimm does not realize there have been any changes BUT when she does, she is furious! Ms. Grimm thinks of a way to “kindly” get rid of her student, Alice-Miranda through a series of tests.
The first test was a large test that Alice-Miranda had to finish in three hours (this was a piece of cake for her because she had a perfect memory). The second test was that she had to walk over 20 kilometers while retrieving five flags in the wilderness (this was also easy as her father had taught her how to camp). The last test was that he had to pick a sport then she had to become the school champion in that sport. For the last test, Alice-Miranda chose boating. She is competing against Aletha Goldsworthy but during the competition several spectators notice that Ms. Goldsworthy has a small motor on her boat. Alice-Miranda WINS all three of her tests and she is allowed to stay at the school.
The moral of this book is sometimes you need to look deep within people to see the good. Everyone has a good side that just is not being shown for one reason or another. In this case, Ms. Grimm was sooo terribly unhappy because of her broken heart that she was taking it out on all around her.
I simply loved this book. The simplicity of the writing was as if a plan was being “drawn” for you but it was descried in a way that still left you (the reader) wanting to continue to read. Kind of like a cake-walk … you know what to do and what’s happening but yet you can never know exactly which number it is that you will land on and if your number will be picked.
Calpurnia is an 11-year-old girl living in 1888. She is enjoying a playful youth in nature. She also enjoys spending time with her Grandfather who is a naturalist (someone who studies and works with nature). This proves to be a strong bond between the two. They go on nature walks and Grandfather teachers Calpurnia how to make true scientific notes. One day, the pair comes across a vast amount of yellow grasshoppers … yet there are only a few green grasshoppers. Calpurnia becomes very perplexed so she goes to her Grandfather’s books and journals to try to figure out this mystery. She learns about “survival of the fittest.”
This means that if you move or adapt to your environment, you will survive but if you are not willing to adapt you may not survive. This explains the grasshoppers. Calpurnia tells her Grandfather about her discovery and begins to think about being a scientist. It is now that Calpurnia’s Mother tells her that she needs to go to a school for proper young women. At this school, they teach young ladies how to cook and sew. During this conversation, Grandfather givers Mother a dirty look because he knows that is not what Calpurnia wants to do.
Many months go by and Calpurnia finally gets up enough nerve to tell her Mother how she feels about going to the school for young women. At first, Mother is very upset but she softens to the idea and lets Calpurnia work toward her dreams. The moral of this book is to stand up for yourself and tell people about how YOU feel. The hard part is to express yourself in a kind way so that you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
Talia Talk by Christine Hurley Deriso was a mixing bowl with an almost unknown recipe. As each ingredient was added and you progressed through the story, there were a couple to times you felt as if this was really all going to work out. The ingredients eventually becoming known as love, partial back-stabbing, with bits and pieces of revenge and redemption thrown in. [The book did not have the same "feeling" as the other books I typically read.]
Talia Farrow is the daughter of Chelsea Farrow, the host of the popular talk show “Up and At’em!” One would think that if your job was to talk to famous people who is what you would do … but no, Ms. Farrow talks about the what goes on in their home … including the instances when Talia stuck scented crayons up her nose or the time Talia used bubble gum to attach antlers to her head at Christmas. Lets just say, Talia has a mind of her own when it comes to doing things. And it is no exception when Talia signs up to do a podcast with her best friend Bridget. Talia realizes that this is the perfect plan for payback!
During one of the podcasts, Talia explains how dorky her mother is as a school volunteer. Talia’s plan is successful, her mother is so mortified! But, after reasoning with her mother, Talia is able to show her mother that the podcast about her is fair and lets her continue. One day, Talia comes home to her Mom in a fancy outfit (date-clothes to be specific), and when Talia hears a knock at the door it dawns on her that her Mom is going on a date. The man’s name is Jake and he works with Talia’s Mom. They all go for pizza and for no reason, Talia feels a sudden dislike for Jake. She realizes that she feels threatened by Jake and feels betrayed by her Mom because she feels as if her Mom is picking someone else over her. It takes several months of reassuring by Talia’s Mom that is not the case. It takes some time but Jake and Talia start to like each other. Talia’s Mom and Jake get married and, just like other books, they live happily ever after!
I enjoyed this book because I thought it was cool that Ms. Deriso used the aspect of surprise to go though the story. You think something but then another thing happens which seemed to amuse me. I also enjoyed this book because I’m going into middle school and this was Talia’s first year of middle school … it was like a fictional version (or preview, in my case) of middle school. I also enjoyed it because the author put a lot of good aspects in each person’s personality.
I believe the moral is there is a thing called “good payback.” Ms. Deriso showed this by Talia getting back at her Mom with the podcast. Even when her mom was embarrassed about Talia talking about how dorky she is, she was able to point out to her Mom that she was still okay and to show her a lesson of how it felt. My sister needs to learn this because there are times that I get “revenge” towards her. I really do it to try to teach her!
Well, this book was not my favorite but I am glad I kept reading (or actually, that my Mother would not let me quit). I felt as if Ms. Winston brought it all together in the last couple of chapters of President of the Whole Fifth Grade.
In this book we have Brianna…a smart, spunky fifth grader (hey, just like me). She dreams of becoming a cupcake extraordinaire. Typically, at Brianna’s school, each fifth grade class elects a class president BUT not this year. This year, the entire grade is going to elect one class president.
Most of the grade are voting for Brianna and just as she is about to agree to be the class president, the new girl (Jasmine Moon) nominates herself (which is actually kinda rude)! During recess a boy named Weasel says that he will help Brianna become president but that does not last long because she sees Weasel telling Jasmine Brianna’s strategy. Although Brianna is upset about what is going on around her she is determined to win…she puts her mind to it and WINS!
There were a couple of good points in the book. The author used a lot of humor in the worst parts in the plot which lightened up the mood. The author also used a wide vocabulary words which kept it interesting. Unfortunately, I also had a dislike. There were actually spots in the book where NOTHING was going on…and I was bored. I guess I tend to like more adventure and mystery type books. I believe the moral of this book is that even when people are being less than nice and trying to bring you down, don’t quit. If you give up, then the other person wins!
This was one ADORABLE book that possessed the many details and ideas that are needed to make a perfect book. I really enjoyed this book because it was very humorous and it had a lot of creativity in it. It did not have modern thoughts or ideas but it was not tooo old-fashioned.
Here we have Zoe Elias and she has a big musical dream! She wants to play the piano in Carnegie Hall (the most glamorous music hall ever). The only problem is that her father misreads her and get her an organ (the D-60). He also gets her a music teacher named Mabillie Person. Ms. Person must have ginger ale during the lessons – which is kinda weird.
One day, Zoe gets an invitation from her best friend Emma Pent. It is an invitation to a “big shoe” birthday party. At the party, everyone is wearing clogs – except Zoe … she is wearing toe socks. For presents, the other girls give Emma Ipods and CDs but Zoe giver her matching cocks. Zoe finds out that socks are not popular any more.
The next day at school, Zoe plays two songs on the piano and a popular boy, Wheeler Diggs, compliments her. Ms. Person recommends Zoe to play in the Perform-O-Rama and Zoe immediately agrees. Ms. Person’s gives her a book full of hits from the 70′s and tells her to pick from this book. Zoe decides to play “Forever in Blue Jeans” by Neil Diamond. Then, Wheeler follows Zoe home…they are becoming good friends.
In the first part of the competition, Zoe makes several mistakes and almost slips on her information packet (which she dropped on the ground because she was so nervous). During the next part of the competition, Zoe performs perfectly and wins 4th place in the 11-year-old division. At home, Zoe, Wheeler and Zoe’s parents celebrate and Zoe finds out that her Dad is exchanging the D-60 organ for a piano – she is thrilled!
The moral is that even though things are looking lopsided you can still make it perfect or even if something is not “popular”, it still may be just right for the right person. In this book Zoe, got off to a rocky start but she made the best out of her situation and it all turned out the way it was meant to.
In Seaglass Summer we have a Poppy, an 11 year-old old girl who goes to spend the summer in Witless Cove with her Uncle Sanjay. Witless Cove is in Washington State. Uncle Sanjay is a popular vet who collects air. In Witless Cove, Poppy works with her uncle at his clinic and she meets several interesting people. Some of the interesting people are Hawk, Duff, and Tony. Hawk is interesting because he likes the inside of animals. Duff, although he thinks guts and blood is gross, he does most of the surgeries. Tony likes to meditate in hopes of finding her inner self (I am not quite sure what that means). While at the clinic, Poppy groomed the animals, helped catch animals when they escaped and petted them during the surgeries to make them feel better. During this process, she also saved some precious animals’ lives.
If I had to rate this book, it would land preciously in the middle, it was “okay.” Although I like the compassion that Poppy showed for all the animals, I wish there were more settings than just the clinic. Something Poppy and I do have in common is that her favorite animal is a dog named Stu. My favorite type of animal would be dogs…especially my dog Beauregard. Beauregard is a silver lab dog who is very playful and energetic. When we brought Beauregard into our family, I accepted the responsibility of walking him and picking up poop and, for the most part, I have held up my end of the bargain. Although Beauregard is a family dog, I think he is more mine!
In my blog you will find my thoughts about the books that I read…some of them sweet and some are tart!
Posted June 1, 2011on: