Take Me to the River

Take Me to the Riverby Will Hobbs

184 pages of suspenseful whitewater adventure, fast paced and flowing with excitement for intermediate and middle readers

Dylan has packed his bag.  At fourteen he’s flying from to Asheville, North Carolina to Alpine, Texas and then taking a bus to Terlingua Ghost Town.  His long lost uncle and cousin live there. Dylan’s never met them before and he’s looking forward to his first chance.  His uncle leads wilderness adventure trips.  Dylan’s been to camp and learned about canoeing, rafting and white water, but this is his first trip out west to give some serious rapids a try.

After hours of grueling travel Dylan arrived at the hotel where he is supposed to meet his cousin and uncle.  They’re not there, but they’ve left a message to hitchhike 80 miles to meet at a ghost town restaurant.  Dylan has to decide:  call home and bring the trip to an end or take a chance – a big chance. He takes the chance.  Fortunately he arrives without harm but again the unexpected happens.  His uncle isn’t there.  He has suddenly been called away to Alaska.  His fifteen-year-old cousin Rio still wants to do a rafting trip.  Again Dylan has to decide:  call home and end he trip, let his mom and dad know no adult is around, or agree to a smaller canyon trip.  He agrees and sticks with his decision even after they are warned about Hurricane Dolly and even after they see suspicious Black Hawk helicopters flying up and down the river.

The first part of their trip is uneventful.  The water is calm and low.  The boys have fun getting to know each other. It kind of cool to know you know what to do in the wilderness.  It’s clear Rio has had a lot of experience, but Dylan can hold his own as well.  One night, while were setting up camp, two figures appear – man and seven-year-old boy.   Both of them are in bad shape.  The boy has red marks on his hands as if his wrists had been tied, his head is cut and his hands are scatter with cactus needles.  They claim one story, but Dylan and Rio don’t believe it is true.  They’d like to help, but something tells them to be wary.  They end up sharing some supplies and even give the strangers their tent before heading off along the river toward the Mexican border.

The predicted bad weather arrives.  Torrential rain comes, filling the river and turning their placid trip into a harrowing challenge for survival.  On top of that they come upon the strangers again.  The man is bad news – but the boy must be helped.   Only Dylan and Rio can help him, but how?  Dylan and Rio are engaged in a suspenseful struggle you’ll be racing to the end to see who comes off the river alive?  Take Me to the River is an exciting ride to the very end.  It’s full of details and description that make you want to raft the Big Bend River and explore the canyons – just not in a hurricane.  Read Take Me to the River.  You’ll be glad you did.

Never Say Die

Never Say Dieby Will Hobbs

for middle grade readers with a love for adventure and the outdoors – Alaska in particular

Never Say Die opens with a grolar bear attack.  Neither you nor I would have made it, but the savvy hunter, aware of the ways of bears in the tundra does.  Nick Trasher is Inuit – in his blood he’s only half; in his outlook he’s full.  Nick’s grandfather, Jonah, is the most important influence in Nick’s life.  They have spent fifteen years in the wilderness together.  Jonah has taught him the old ways, as well as the new adapted ways using up-to-date tools for hunting and fishing and gathering.  That is the only way to maintain family in the Arctic – and Nick means to stay.  Nick understands the balance that must exist between the hunter and his environment in order for all to survive.  That way of life is changing, however.  The environment is changing.  The effects of global warming are evident all around them – ice is less, herds are smaller and animals that would never be sited are frequently.  Jonah, and Nick through him, isn’t totally sure he approves of the work of the environmental biologists and scientists as they track animals to understand changes.  Nick thinks, “Just ask the hunters – ask the old hunters – they know all there is to know.”   Life is changing one way or another in Inuvik and Nick wonders what his future will bring.

Right now Jonah is struggling with a cancer that will soon claim his life.  That change is sure for Nick and he is making the most of every moment. Then comes the second change. Nick is invited by his older half-brother Ryan to take a raft trip up the Firth River in search of the caribou herds. Ryan is a professional photographer.  He is working with many scientists and wants to write an article on the effects of climate change on caribou, their migration and numbers. It is the brothers’ first opportunity to get to know each other.  They’ve been raised by their moms and know little of their dad.

Nick hesitates to leave, but Jonah urges him on. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity- one that Jonah wishes he had been able to share with Nick himself.  He tells Nick to go and says he will surely wait to hear Nick’s stories of the trip before he “lets the bear and wolf enter the town.” Nick decides to join his brother and promises to bring back all the stories he can of his trip, the land and especially, the caribou.

Full of uncertainty at his leaving, Nick draws hope from the school motto, “Never Say Die.”  – meaning:  always think, always survive.  It is a motto he will think of often over the coming days because on the first day of the trip the raft flips over and Nick and Ryan are separated on opposite shores. Now they must find each other and survive in a brutal environment with limited supplies. Never Say Die is a survival story to say the least, but it is also the story of brothers who learn from each other, come to understand their differences and grow in respect of each other. They form a bridge between old way and new way through understanding and respect.

Never Say Die is an amazing journey both for what you learn about the land, and for what you learn about the ways people of different backgrounds and outlooks can come together for a common good.  Having finished this, I am off to read all the Will Hobbs’ books I can find.  If I enjoy them half as much, I’ll be pleased.  I appreciate having another author to recommend to realistic fiction, with a fast pace readers.

Liar and Spy

by Rebecca SteadLiar & Spy

180 pages of interesting questions – can you be friends with a liar?

Perhaps the only thing good right now in Georges (yes, with an s) life is the fact that he stayed at the same school.  His dad lost his job, his family sold their house, they moved to an apartment and his mom started working doubles at the hospital.  He never sees her any more and that’s tough.  No dinners at home.  Dad’s often goes to visit her, but Georges chooses to leave her Scrabble tile messages.  He’s not much for hospitals.   The move means everything is in turmoil and everything he has relied on to stay grounded is difficult to find.

Doing laundry in the new building, Georges and his dad notice a sign for a Spy Club.  Thinking it is a joke, dad pencils a question – what time’s the next meeting.  Georges gets and answer and that’s how he first meets Safer and then, Candy.   Is there really a mystery in the building?  Could the man in black be a criminal?  What story is true?  How can anyone be sure?

As Georges answers his questions, you’ll answer your own. Can you really live a lie?  Can you actually be friends with a liar?  Are friends what it takes to face reality?  Read Liar and Spy to see what you think – can anything good ever come from a lie.

Ranger’s Apprentice Book 2: The Burning Bridge

Your favorite Rangers are back, and they have an exciting new adventure in store.

The kingdom of Araluen is preparing for a battle with the evil warlord, Morgorath, and they need allies. Will and Gilan, the Rangers, and Horace the knight are chosen for the quest to obtain these allies. But as soon as they arrive in Celtica, a neighboring kingdom, they are suspicious. The patrol booth at the edge is deserted. Unlike the Celticans to leave something in a messy state, the group is intrigued and they keep on going until they reach the first city. Their suspicions are confirmed; the Celticans have, “abandoned ship.” The group soon finds out that this is Morgarath’s doing, and they suspect that he has some of the Celticans, for who knows what. Gilan departs, and now it is up to only Will and Horace, once orphanage enemies to face evil straight on.

 If you are a HUGE Ranger’s Apprentice fan, you might want to download this great wallpaper, accessed through clicking this link:


The link to the first book’s review here, where you’ll find some other links.

Buy this book from Amazon.com!

The Twits

My favorite cover art, done by Quentin Blake (he does all of the Roald Dahl books 🙂 )

The Twits – I remember reading this book in 2nd grade and telling everyone that it was my favorite book. It’s laugh out loud funny and when you’re done with it, you will miss the Twit’s wickedness and everything else inside this awesome story. Let’s get on with the review:

The Twits are a nasty old couple and they hate everything. No doubt about it. Everything except for a few habits and hobbies. For one, their most favorite thing to do is to play mean tricks on each other. Worms in Mr. Twit’s spaghetti, and I couldn’t even tell you any others, because it would ruin the story! Anyway, another hobby that they have is cruelty to the trained monkeys they own, Muggle-Wumps. But contrary to the Twits’ belief, the Muggle-Wumps are very smart indeed. And now, it is time for their revenge. Read The Twits by Roald Dahl to find out what happens.


Hi, everyone! I know that we have just passed the holiday season (around a month!) and people aren’t thinking about buying anything huge, but if you are thinking about buying an eReader, then you should be getting the right one for you. There are a lot of bad and inexpensive eReaders out there, and there are only some that will do the job well.

I have a Nook, first generation and it is great, and it gets the job well really well. If you are looking for an eReader, the thing is, eReaders are so new that the older ones aren’t that different from the new ones. (The older ones are cheaper:) That widens the selection a lot, I think!

If you have a budget, which you probably do, I will list the top 2 most inexpensive, but good, eReaders out there.

#1, Kindle with Wi-Fi, 6″ Display – $79.00 from Amazon.com

This version of kindle, released in September 2011, weighs less than 6 ounces and fits in your back pocket. Because of the state of the art E Ink display, this Kindle reads just like paper, even in bright sunlight. This kindle is fast, very affordable and easy to take, wherever you go. I would recommend this kindle to anyone because of the month-lasting battery charge, weight, size and all the other handy features that may come in handy on an eReader. To see more about this kindle, click here.

#2, Barnes & Nobles’ NOOK Simple Touch™ – $99.00 from Barnes & Nobles

The NOOK Simple Touch is the fastest, longest lasting battery, ad free, best touch screened eReader out there! Its battery will last for up to two months a charge and just like the kindle, it has the award winning E Ink display, except it’s a touch screen!!!! This is by far the most simply interactive eReader on the market. It reads just like a book because you swipe to flip the page and it’s the authentic black and white page color. It is as close as a real book as you can get! Wifi for buying books on your NOOK is included. To read more click here!

Now, if you have a larger budget and you want a really nice eReader, here is my preferance!

#1, The NOOK Color by Barnes & Nobles – $199.00

NOOK Color

Super-clear resolution, movies, books, apps, music, super-fast web browsing, all you could wish for. This is everything you could wish for in an eReader, and more! NEW! Kid’s books and graphic novels/comics are now availiable, making this a spectacular interactive tool for kids. Starting at $199.00 on B&N.com

***Note: All of the kindles offer text-to-speech, for the visually impaired. 🙂 ***

For more information about eReaders, go to these websites:

Thank You!
P.S. Most eReaders are easily customized with screensaver and wallpaper pictures!
My customized NOOK!

Some pictures of my NOOK in action!

The NOOK book library!
My NOOK reading a NOOK book!