Reviews written by Francesca Amendolia

66 results - showing 16 - 30
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July 07, 2012 (Updated: July 07, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Sammy Keyes is my new best (book) friend

I admit it. I judged a book by its cover – a whole series of books, actually. I took one look at the cover art and thought, “Nah, not for me.” And I was wrong, oh so very very wrong. Sammy Keyes is my new favorite heroine. In fact, I...

July 07, 2012 (Updated: July 07, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
Kids Fiction
Lost in the desert

THE SCORPIONS OF ZAHIR has just about everything I love in a middle-grade adventure: a strong-minded heroine; a fascinating location; a magical artifact; mysterious signs and portents; a happy ending. Yet somehow, these elements did not cohere into a satisfying whole. In the end I decided...

July 06, 2012 (Updated: July 07, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
A Satisfying Ending

(This is going to be a spoiler-free review, as the plot will make little sense to anyone not already immersed in the series, and those who are immersed should not have their reading-pleasure infringed upon.) If you are already a fan of Michael Scott's The Secrets of...

July 03, 2012 (Updated: July 03, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Enchanting!

SORCERY AND CECELIA, first published in 2004 by Harcourt and released just a few weeks ago in e-book form by Open Road Media, is a gem of a book. I didn't get wind of the book on its first release, so I am grateful to Open Road for putting it...

June 28, 2012
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Cheesie Mack is Just Plain Cool

CHEESIE MACK IS COOL IN A DUEL is exactly what it says on the tin: fun, tasty, kid-friendly fare, with a hint of nutrition but not enough to spoil the taste. I chomped it down, and enjoyed every single bite. I think COOL IN A DUEL is...

June 23, 2012 (Updated: June 23, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Expanding the Buffyverse!

I confess. I am a huge Buffy fan. When the series ended, I was bereft. Luckily, Joss Whedon is still producing Buffy stories -- only now they're comics, and the adventure continues! The freedom of not having to adhere to a special effects budget has meant wilder stories, more complicated...

June 16, 2012 (Updated: June 23, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
More philosophy than story

The Little Prince is sometimes considered -- mistakenly, I think -- a children's book. Just because a book is about a child, or about the lessons we want children to learn or about the truths we hope they do not forget as they age, it doesn't make it a book...

June 16, 2012 (Updated: August 02, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Teaching kids about the Revolutionary War? Throw away the textbook, and read Crogan's Loyalty.

CROGAN’S LOYALTY, the latest volume in Chris Schweizer's ongoing series about the varied adventures of the Crogan clan ancestors, is as surprising and exciting a historical narrative as its predecessors. While the first story took us to sea in 1701 with Catfish Crogan (Crogan’s Vengance, 2008) and the second trapped...

May 22, 2012 (Updated: May 22, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Protecting the Skinless Cub

THE PRINCE WHO FELL FROM THE SKY, by John Claude Bemis, is an interesting spin on a future dystopia, although in this case, the “dys-” (a root meaning "bad" or "difficult") is somewhat misleading. This is not a corrupted human world, not a Hunger Games tyranny or an Uglies totalitarian...

May 19, 2012
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
Super Heroes Can Do Whatever They Want To!

DO SUPER HEROES HAVE TEDDY BEARS? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle is certainly a cute book. I enjoyed the escapades of the adventurous siblings, and the underlying message that the imaginary life of children is broad and complex and varied, not limited by the “rules” of being a superhero, or anything...

May 15, 2012 (Updated: May 29, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Two Crafty Criminals is One Great Read

Philip Pullman has a new book out in the United States: TWO CRAFTY CRIMINALS, and my one sentence review is: it’s a real treat. The text was first published in the UK in 1994 as two separate books: Thunderbolt’s Waxwork and The Gas-Fitters Ball, and this...

May 11, 2012 (Updated: May 11, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
I've got a crush on CRUSH

There are heaps of middle-grade books about girls falling in love, and good thing too, since it’s an important piece of the growing-up puzzle. CRUSH, by Gary Paulsen, offers a rarer (and wonderful!) point of view – that of a boy in love for the first time. From my old-lady...

May 11, 2012 (Updated: May 11, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Making the Hunchback PB&J sandwiches

As an adult reader of books for children, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about voice and audience. I don’t want to read a middle-grade book written for me, the adult who has learned to be cynical, grumpy and analytical. I don’t want to read a middle-grade book...

May 09, 2012 (Updated: May 09, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
Ohmygrass!

For the title alone, you should pick this book up. I mean, honestly. How often in life do you get to answer the question, “What are you reading?” with such a beautifully surreal title? Not often enough. WARRIOR SHEEP DOWN UNDER, by Christine and Christopher Russell, maintains...

May 09, 2012 (Updated: May 09, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
The Faeries of the White Forest Have Returned!

THE RUINS OF NOE, by Danika Dinsmore, is the second in a trilogy called Faerie Tales from the White Forest. The story began in Brigitta of the White Forest (which I reviewed here) about a young fairy who does not receive destiny markings on her wings at the expected time...

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