Thursday, August 24, 2017

Book Nook: Books from Spark Press

Summer is over and kids are going back to school. With all of the assigned reading, some kids don't necessarily want to read for fun. For other kids, reading is always a joy and they're eager for new books. I had a chance to participate in the Beat the Back-to-School Blues Blog Tour by reviewing a few books from Spark Press.

First up, for those who like sports or history, a book I didn't review: The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball by Dori Jones Yang. Despite his impulsive and curious nature, twelve-year-old Leon is determined to follow the Emperor’s rules—to live with an American family, study hard, and return home to modernize China. But he also must keep the braid that shows his loyalty—and resist such forbidden American temptations as baseball. As Leon overcomes teasing and makes friends, his elder brother becomes increasingly alienated and disturbed. Eventually, Leon faces a tough decision, torn between his loyalty to his birth country—and his growing love for his new home. The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball is a lively, poignant, and nuanced novel based on a little-known episode from history, when 120 boys were sent to New England by the Emperor of China in the 1870s.

I did get to read The Raven God by Alane Adams (available September 12th). It's the third and final book in the Legends of Orkney series by Alane Adams. It's a fantasy with roots in Norse mythology. Sam Baron and his friends need save Orkney from Loki, the God of Mischief. It's a book that is full of courage, imagination, sacrifice, and doing what's right in the face of obstacles. Reading the third book in a series is always a challenge, since there's a lot of missing backstory. This book worked fine alone, although for my daughter's sake I'd want her to read the other two first, just so she had the full picture.

ridge of the Gods by Diane Rios was an intriguing book. This is the kind of book my daughter loves, and my favorite of the three. It has everything - a strong tween female character Chloe, animals and nature, magic, and a battle between good and evil. To make even better, the animals in the wilderness of Oregon actually to speak to the main character and get to know her. In a family tragedy, she ends up sold to vagabonds, and has to struggle to survive, using the natural magic in the forest. It's a book filled with suspense, energy, intrigue, adventure - perfect for middle grades and even young adult readers.

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