I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Saving Lucas Biggs by David Teague, Marisa de los Santos
Also by this author: , Connect the Stars
Narrator: Angela Goethals, Steven Kaplan, Josh Hurley
Length: 7 Hours 1 Minute
Published by HarperCollins on April 29th 2014
Format: Audiobook, Hardcover, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
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Perfect for fans of Margaret Peterson Haddix, When You Reach Me, and Savvy, this charming time-travel story from husband-and-wife team Marisa de los Santos and David Teague follows one girl's race to change the past in order to save her father's future.
Thirteen-year-old Margaret knows her father is innocent, but that doesn't stop the cruel Judge Biggs from sentencing him to death. Margaret is determined to save her dad, even if it means using her family's secret—and forbidden—ability to time travel. With the help of her best friend, Charlie, and his grandpa Josh, Margaret goes back to a time when Judge Biggs was a young boy and tries to prevent the chain of events that transformed him into a corrupt, jaded man. But with the forces of history working against her, will Margaret be able to change the past? Or will she be pushed back to a present in which her father is still doomed?
Told in alternating voices between Margaret and Josh, this heartwarming story shows that sometimes the forces of good need a little extra help to triumph over the forces of evil.
Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague has an absolutely eye catching cover. Personally, I am quite partial to covers which showcase night time scenes and stars. This cover is one that convinced me to read the book. I also think it will be eye catching for its intended audience. Thankfully, the contents within were in line with my judgment of this book by its cover.
Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague is a middle grade time travel book with several narrators. When we begin the book, Margaret O’Malley’s father has been sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. Her uncle Joshua who is wicked old suggests that Margaret go back in time to undo a chain of events wherein the Judge who is Lucas Biggs turns his heart and believes his father, Aristotle, murdered mine owner Theodore Ratliff. So, the book kind of goes between modern day and the depression era.
Basically, Marisa de los Santos and David Teague write a very smart books bringing issues like labor rights and the ethics of time travel and changing the past to a middle grade level. There is a twisting and winding plot line. I really enjoyed the big reveals and how everything tied together. I also really liked the characters and the different tough choices they were faced with making. I even enjoyed the side characters as well.
The audiobook has three narrators who meld quite well. Each takes on different chapters so it does not feel full cast. The audiobook is narrated by Angela Goethals, Steven Kaplan, and Josh Hurley. All three narrators were new to me. I am glad I took a chance and went with an audiobook of all new to me narrators. I felt like Saving Lucas Biggs was such an engaging listen. Thus, I can’t recommend this audiobook highly enough.
Other reviews of Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague:
- Alexa Loves Books – “definitely a good read“
- The Literary Fairy – “not an exceptional book“
- Waking Brain Cells – “A rich and vibrant look at time travel“
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I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Thickety: A Path Begins by J. A. White
Series: The Thickety #1
Narrator: Susan Duerden
Length: 8 Hours 48 Minutes
Published by Harper Collins on May 6th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Action & Adventure, General, Monsters
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
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The Thickety: A Path Begins is a spellbinding tale about a girl, the Thickety, and the power of magic. Fans of Neil Gaiman will love this thrilling new world.
When Kara Westfall was five years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic…except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr's Realm. But mostly it's called the Thickety.
The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother.
And that is just the beginning of the story.
Supports the Common Core State StandardsPublishers Weekly Best BookIndieBound Indie Next ListPublishers Weekly Flying StartAmazon's Big Spring BooksWashington Post Summer Book Club
The Thickety: A Path Begins by JA White is a bit of a dark middle grade book. When I was an actual middle grader, I certainly could not get enough of those dark books — especially because they did not feel dumbed down at all. Frankly, this series opener also trusts in the intelligence of its reader. Personally, I felt this was an engaging read and would work as either an audiobook read or a physical book read. I chose to read this via audio, but I will likely continue via physical book as there’s a lot a missed via audio.
So, The Thickety: A Path Begins is about this girl named Kara and her brother Taff. Both are kind of outcasts in the village that they live in. You see, they live in a world where magic isn’t cool. Magic is actually looked down upon and considered to be evil. This is awful for them because their mother was a witch. The villagers are even more scared of the woods, called the Thickety. So, anyways. One day Kara goes into the Thickety and finds this magical grimoire.
Of course, things (read: magic) begins to happen as a result of Kara finding the grimoire. The story gets kind of intense and does take a few satisfying and scary turns. I’ll be excited to see what happens in the next book. Kara is an interesting heroine. She has a hard lot in life, yet she still makes decent decisions. I certainly was Team Kara the entire time.
As for the audiobook, it is narrated by Susan Duerden. If you’ve listened to a lot of middle grade audiobooks, chances are you have heard Duerden narrate before. She has the perfect voice for middle grade fantasy. It’s got kind of an ethereal tone to it. The audiobook is 8 hours and 49 minutes long. It goes by quick though. I will admit, I did lose attention a few times and ended up confused, but on the whole, I enjoyed this audiobook of The Thickety: A Path Begins by JA White.
Other reviews of The Thickety: A Path Begins by JA White:
- Great Imaginations – “I actually really loved it“
- The Social Potato – “This book surprised me. A LOT.“
- Not Yet Read – “Definitely not for the child that is feint of heart.“
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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Falling into the Dragon's Mouth by Holly Thompson
Published by Macmillan on April 19th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Social Themes, Bullying, People & Places, Asia, Stories in Verse
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In a Japanese seaside neighborhood lives Jason Parker: a sixth grader one year older than his classmates a stinking foreigner to some classmates an orange belt in aikido a big brotherJason Parker is just a boy trying to get through his days with calm and courage. If only everyone around him would let him.This is a beautifully spare novel in verse about one boy's life-a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to fit in.
Falling Into The Dragon’s Mouth by Holly Thompson is a middle grade verse book and quite different from other middle grade verse books that I have read. Of the three books reviewed today, it is my least favorite. Yet, I still can see the value in actual middle grade kids reading this book as it takes on the familiar theme of bullying but with a twist.
So, Falling Into The Dragon’s Mouth is all about this boy named Jason Parker. Jason is an American who lives abroad in Japan with his parents in a seaside village. Jason speaks Japanese but is having a tough time. He is no longer at the American school because his parents can no longer afford it. Instead he is at a local school. He hates it there because he is constantly bullied and made fun of.
Essentially, this book is about Jason being bullied and being a stranger in a strange land. He and his sister make a few friends though in unexpected places. Eventually Jason gets past being bullied. I thought the writing style of verse was unique. I also found the setting to be interesting too and different from what I have experienced. I can’t speak to the authenticity or the representation. I am not particularly enamored with Falling Into The Dragon’s Mouth but I can definitely see its value with its actual intended audience.
Other reviews of Falling Into The Dragon’s Mouth by Holly Thompson:
- Couldn’t find any via google on the first 5 pages — if you review this, drop your link in the comments and I will add it up here