“Sienna the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain” by Alayne Kay Christian


Alayne Kay Christian
Spork (2017)
ISBN 9781946101051
Reviewed by Paola Belloso (age 10) for Reader Views (2/18)

“Sienna the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain” by Alayne Kay Christian, is the story of a girl named Sienna who lives in Grayson County, Texas. Her mom is a fairy and her dad a cowboy. So, being half human and half fairy was not so good when she had to be a fairy like her mom wanted, but she loved being a cowgirl and help her dad in everything she could. This year has been very hot, and a big drought was drying all the crops out. Her dad was worried, and Sienna wanted to help and planned to read her book that teaches how to make rain. Once inside the house her mom let her know that soon she will be going to a Fairy Camp. Sienna wasn’t happy to be a delicate fairy; she was happy being on the farm and learning all the jobs with her dad.

Meet Sienna the Cowgirl fairy on her journey to become a better fairy and her adventures to learn how to make it rain. Join her and her roommate Ali in all what they go through in the fairy camp with Ms. F., and her teacher Ms. Fern. Also the other fairies Jolly, Holly and find out who Duke is, that are part of this cute and funny story.

I liked the book “Sienna the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain” very much. It’s a story of a girl who cares and wants to help her dad on the farm, but at the same time she pleases her mom’s wish in becoming a better fairy.  I love how Sienna tries hard and never gives up.  She is a good cowgirl. This is a very fun story to read and the illustrations are cute.

A note from mom:

“Sienna the Cowgirl Fairy- Trying to Make it Rain” by Alayne Kay Christian is a great chapter book filled with fun and adventure.  Paola enjoyed seeing how persistent Sienna is in achieving her goal to make rain, and her special bond with her father. We enjoyed the Texan slangs and having the glossary at the end will help kids understand even better.

Posted in YOUNG READER - AGES 8 TO 12 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“The Light Dweller” by Miguel Lopez de Leon


Miguel Lopez de Leon
Galadria Worldwide (2017)
ISBN 97806928885832
Reviewed by Faryal Jabbar (Age 16) for Reader Views (2/18)

Imagine an underground world so unique from our current perceptions of science fiction rules, where a dragon ruler uses her wings to swim rather than fly and a whole species of mind reading mushroom-like species exists. In “The Light Dweller,” by Miguel Lopez de Leon, a young boy named Ben witnesses these amazing sights after opening a storage room door.

Like all protagonists Ben has his own set of problems before beginning his epic adventure. For many years he has been bullied and hurt, without the comfort from his closed-off parents. His father quickly uproots the family to live in his deceased grandmother’s house, where Ben takes refuge in the darkness of the storage room. One day, armed with many ham and cheese sandwiches, a lighter, and a candle, Ben discovers tunnels that lead him into the plunging darkness. He awakens to no one, until coming across the city of Gren, a beautiful city whose light source is fading fast and needs three special objects from three different cities to regain the light. Since Ben is referred to as a surface-dweller he is unbound by the diplomatic law that prevents others from crossing borders and is offered citizenship if he helps save Gren. Without much of a choice Lina, the head guard of Gren, and Ben set off on their adventure, facing powerful rulers in hopes of saving Gren before it is consumed by darkness.

Throughout the book the plot and language was straightforward and clear. The dialogue helped me better understand Ben and move the story along, but it could get boring at certain points. On the other hand my favorite part about the author’s writing was the sheer imagination and creativity that was used to create both terrifying and enchanting characters, as well as his ability to create a whole world unique to other popular science fiction settings. Also Ben is a well developed character that people can relate to, but Lina, a less prominent main character, lacks depth and personality. Overall Leon effectively creates a very intriguing backdrop as well as thought-provoking obstacles for his unique character’s risky mission.

“The Light Dweller,” by Miguel Lopez de Leon is a fantastic book for people ages 9 through their teen years, though some descriptions may be a little scary to some younger children.  It would also appeal to older science fiction readers who don’t mind less relationships and teenage problems in novels. I’ve already passed this book along to my 9 year old brother, who is loving it so far. As a whole, important themes like: acceptance, loneliness, curiosity, and home really make this novel worth reading.

Posted in TEEN/YOUNG ADULT - AGES 12 AND UP, YOUNG READER - AGES 8 TO 12 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“If You Were Me and Lived in…the Mayan Empire” by Carole P. Roman


Carole P. Roman
CreateSpace (2017)
ISBN 9781535046213
Reviewed by Paola Belloso (age 10) for Reader Views (2/18)

“If You Were Me and Lived in…the Mayan Empire” by Carole P. Roman will take you back in time to 1800 BC to a Mayan city, imagining you were an indigenous and your name was chosen after the moon, the sea, the good spirit, or a good farmer, always having a meaning of what your parents were, what they worked as, either farmers, or potter, etc. You will live in a home that was built on top of a stone and the walls were made of clay and a roof of hay. Having all your relatives living all around, your mom will stay with you cooking in a kitchen with all your aunts and cousins, weaving or maybe washing clothes in the river. Dads will go hunting for food with your brothers.

It is very interesting reading of a historical civilization that grew from the top southeastern part of what it is today the Yucatan Peninsula (You-cah-tan Puh-nins-uh-la) in Mexico down to Guatemala (Gwa-ta-ma-la), Belize (bel-lez), Honduras (Hon-dor-as), and El Salvador (El Sal-vuh-dor), where many of their descendants still live and speak the Mayan language. Even though many years have passed they still maintain their culture in their customs like food, pottery and their colorful weaving.

Once again, this series by Carole P. Roman will teach you so much about a different culture, how everything started and how much we have learned from the past. I loved the fact of how they recorded their accomplishments in stone being the only ancients who left a written history. Excellent illustrations.

A Note from Mom:

In “If You Were Me and Lived in…the Mayan Empire” by Carole P. Roman has once again introduced Paola once to a different culture in a very simple and condensed way. The unique way of writing her series has given information that will help Paola to remember what she’s learned. The glossary is very helpful and I loved the Mayan contributions to the world and the Famous Names in the Mayan Culture section. This series is a must-have in schools.

Posted in TEEN/YOUNG ADULT - AGES 12 AND UP, YOUNG READER - AGES 8 TO 12 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“If You Were Me and Lived in…the Ancient Mali Empire” by Carole P. Roman


Carole P. Roman
CreateSpace (2016)
ISBN 9781540337276
Reviewed by Paola Belloso (age 10) for Reader Views

“If You Were Me and Lived in…the Ancient Mali Empire” by Carole P. Roman, you would be living in the West African continent in the capital city of Niani (Nee-an-ee), which had long and wide roads that will take you to the Mecca city. You would speak the Mandika language. In this book you will learn the different roles that boys and girls each have, as well as crafts and trade. Your house would be large and built with mud bricks and the roofs shaped with grass, and have many mosques around the city to go and pray.

You would be living close to the palace where the Mansa Musa (King Musa) lives and your brother will tell you about it, since girls were not allowed in. The Mansa Musa was the wealthiest man and always helped the city. As a girl I will stay with my mom learning to be a wife and mother until I get married and my brother would stay until the age of twelve and then leave to learn a profession.

In this book, “If You Were Me and Lived in…the Ancient Mali Empire” by Carole P. Roman, you will learn a lot of history about this ancient city, their traditions, their way of living, food, music, clothing and how the Mansa Musa contributes in the progress of the city. It is very educational and has excellent illustrations.

A Note From Mom:

“If You Were Me and Lived in…the Ancient Mali Empire” provides an excellent way to share and describe the origins of an Empire. I love how this series sets up the curiosity for those who want to learn more details about the history and beginnings of an ancient city and their development in time.

Posted in TEEN/YOUNG ADULT - AGES 12 AND UP, YOUNG READER - AGES 8 TO 12 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump” by Carole P. Roman


Carole P. Roman
Chelshire (2017)
ISBN 9781947188136
Reviewed by Paola Belloso (age 10) for Reader Views (02/18)

“Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump” by Carole P. Roman, is the second book of her new series. In it you will continue the wonderful adventures of a third grader who encounters serious situations that end up being funny.

Susannah gets invited to a sleepover at her best friend Lola’s house. Lola is super excited and has been planning all week the fun things they are going to do. But Susannah is terribly scared to go because she heard Lola’s brother Kai say that there are ghosts all around the house. It’s Friday morning and Susannah hasn’t told her mom about Lola’s sleepover. When Susannah’s mom finds out about it she is happy for her and starts packing her stuff even though Susannah doesn’t want to go. When she noticed Susannah wasn’t excited, her mom tries to talk to her and makes her feel better about it. Susannah left to school hoping for a better day and a good time at Lola’s house.

Join Susannah on her journey through her day as she notices that she isn’t the only one who feared something like Lola’s haunted house. How she had learned how Macy felt so much fear about a unicorn and a little boy at the store was scared of clowns. Even Ms. Horns was afraid of catching the flu.

The message from all that Susannah goes through, teaches that we all have fears and that we are not the only ones. That it is ok to feel scared, but we must learn how to confront it and not believe in all that we hear until we can figure things out ourselves. Fear will make us see things and stop us sometimes from doing and enjoying the fun things.  Susannah thought that Lola wasn’t afraid of anything and she realized that she also was scared of something. Discover what else could Susannah be scared of? Is it a bear? A lion? A tiger? Find out if she ends up going to the sleepover.

I really enjoyed this story. It has a bit mystery, suspense and love. How she is caring with her friend Macy and worried not to hurt Lola’s feeling about the sleepover. This is a great story for kids ages 6 and up.

A Note from Mom:

I enjoyed “Oh Susannah: Things that Go Bump” by Carole P. Roman. It is a story that I am sure many of us had been through once and have probably encountered with our kids. It’s a great book that will help them think about what each one fears and will try to overcome so they don’t miss the fun.

Posted in EARLY READER - AGES 6 TO 8, YOUNG READER - AGES 8 TO 12 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Liornabella” by A.E. Outerbridge


A.E. Outerbridge
Allison Elaine Outerbridge (2017)
ISBN 9781773701196
Reviewed by Megan Weiss – YA Reviewer for Reader Views (2/18)

”Liornabella,” Book 1 in The Viridian Chronicles by A.E. Outerbridge, follows Elle O’Sullivan, a 17-year-old who has been accepted to Liornabella’s prestigious university.  What Elle does not know is that she is about to become the central actor in a sinister plot that dates back two centuries.

“Liornabella” is like a cross between Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.  The region’s smartest and strongest have been brought to one school, where each year they compete against each other to see who is the best.  This story brings a breath of fresh air to vampire stories.  Instead of being all about falling in love with the tall, dark, and handsome bad boy vampire, this story is about uncovering how the vampires are linked to Liornabella’s most famous scandal: the disappearance of their princess some two hundred years earlier, and later, that of their king.  Could it be that the answers to both are now under the same roof?

This young adult fantasy novel is unique and brings together a cast of characters that you want to root for as readers.  While there are many strengths to the novel, some issues come in the way of dialogue that is a little too formal at times, and a pace that is just a little too fast.  There’s a lot happening in this book, and I believe that going deeper into character development and background context could really have brought this book up to the forefront of young adult literature.  Time moves extremely fast over the course of the book, and I think it would have been beneficial in this case to concede to writing a longer book with more pages, in order to get in all the twists and turns that were essential to weaving an unforgettable tale.  The building blocks are there and the execution of the plot is wonderfully done, but I think this story could have been cultivated even more.  Although, this is the first book in a series, which means that there is still ample time for bigger and better things to come.

In “Liornabella,” A.E. Outerbridge has certainly succeeded in bringing to the table an exciting new tale about a mysterious, faraway land with an even more mysterious background.  This is definitely an author to keep tabs on to see what more she brings to the table in the future.

Posted in TEEN/YOUNG ADULT - AGES 12 AND UP | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Harry the Scary Pumpkin” by Joe Spartz


Joe Spartz
Beaver’s Pond Press (2017)
ISBN 9781592988112
Reviewed by Russ Cramer (age 5) for Reader Views Kids (2/18)

“Harry the Scary Pumpkin” by Joe Spartz is about Harry, a little pumpkin, whose dream is to become a scary jack o’lantern. As Harry grew, he turned a wonderful shade of orange. The farmer’s truck then shows up and he gets picked and put out for sale, but no one picks him. This makes Harry sad. And then a pie factory truck shows up, but thankfully a little girl picks him and takes him home. She turns him into a scary pumpkin and then they go to school and he’s in a jack-o-lantern contest. And he wins!

This story was good. I liked that Harry wins the jack o’lantern contest because I also like to win things like Starbursts and money. I did not like that the teacher couldn’t make all the pumpkins win first place. I also did not like Tubby, because he was mean to Harry.

I loved the art because it was amazing and it was unique. I also liked Harry’s orange color because it was the best shade of color I’ve ever seen.

I recommend “Harry the Scary Pumpkin” by Joe Spartz to other kids because they will like the story and the art.

Parent’s Note

Russ enjoyed reading this book and seemed to relate to the pumpkin because there are times he doesn’t get picked, but really wants to be picked. He was glad Harry won because he also likes to win. The book is a very easy read, though there are multiple sentences on a page, so it might take a new reader a little while to get through it. It is an enjoyable, quick read for new readers.

Posted in EARLY READER - AGES 6 TO 8 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment