The Best of Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl had so many great books! I will share a few of his that I liked so much that I have read so many times. Boy and Going Solo I have already reviewed, but the ones that I’m going to review are shorter reads and are just as great.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

5 Golden Tickets are released into 5 Wonka candy bars all around the world. After 4 tickets our found, Charlie’s parents, struggling to ‘make end’s meat’, give him a chocolate bar and as expected, no ticket. But by some miraculous stroke of luck, Charlie gets a golden ticket. The spectacular adventure that awaits him is far more than anything that he could have imagined. But meeting Mr. Wonka himself is one of the unimaginable adventures in itself. This has two movie takes on it and again, is one of Roald Dahl’s Ultimate Classics.

The Magic Finger

The Greggs are a normal family. They live in their normal house, go about their daily activities. The dad and his sons hunt. But this makes their eight year old neighbor very cross. And being cross is the thing that activates her ‘magic finger.’ Her magic finger punishes people for the things that make her cross. For example, the magic finger turned her teacher into a cat because the teacher called her stupid. And now the magic finger has done something horrendous to the Greggs, without the girl being able to control it. This is a quick read, but so not underestimate this book at all.

The Enormous Crocodile

The Enormous Crocodile is a VERY ENORMOUS CROCODILE! And he wants to dine on some “sweet, juicy” children. But all of his animal friends try to talk him out of committing this “dastardly deed”. The jungle animals cannot convince him not to do it, but they are not giving up. Read The Enormous Crocodile to find out what happens.

Click here to access the Official Roald Dahl Website.

To view other Roald Dahl Book Reviews, go to the “Book Review List” page (link found about book picture at top of screen) and find his books.

Deadweather and Sunrise

Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg, #1)by Geoff Rodkey

296 pages of danger, suspense and adventure – it’ll surprise you

Deadweather Island is miserable; hot and humid, desolate and dull.  It sits to the west of Sunrise, totally cut off from the rest of the world by the pirate-infested waters of the Blue Sea.  Egg is acutely aware of the oppressive weather and landscape.  He knows nothing but the dreary life on the island, the endless work on the ugly fruit plantation and the constant fear of attack by his brother, sister, tutor or pirates who work the plantation too.  On the day of his thirteenth birthday Egg’s father mysteriously decides to sail the whole family to Sunrise Island on errand. Egg’s father meets with his lawyer and then heading into the fancy island inn for lunch, meets the wealthy and powerful, Mr. Pembroke.  Mr. Pembroke feigns interest in the plantation and brings the family to his hilltop home full luxurious comforts and delights.  As a highlight to the trip he treats them to a hot air balloon ride that unfortunately ends in terrible accident leaving Egg alone in the world.

With the loss of his family the Pembrokes take Egg in.  They treat him to the best weeks of his life.  He is never hungry.  He has all the books he could wish to read.  He becomes friends with Millicent, the Pembroke daughter.  It seems as though his life might be turning around and then Egg discovers Mr. Pembroke is not all he claims to be.  His generosity is not because he feels responsibility for the loss of his family, but because Egg has something he wants – the Deadweather plantation.  Egg knows that Pembroke will stop at nothing to get what he wants.  Egg must run for his life.  He must get back to Deadweather and that seems impossible.  How can a boy who has nothing escape from a man who has everything – wealth, power, and authority.

Read The Chronicles of Egg – Deadweather and Sunrise to discover how the first leg to the journey unfolds as one disaster leads to the next adventure that leads to the next challenge only to begin again.  Egg is caught in the race of his life, or rather the race for his life.  It is uncertain whether he can survive.

I have to say it took me a while to get into the book.  It was hard for me to like the characters at first.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend time with them, but by the end I wanted them to stay a little longer.  I like resourceful, kind Egg a lot.  I wonder how Millicent will cope. I even have a soft spot for Guts.  I’ll be looking for the next Chronicle of Egg and will be ready to reading the moment I open the cover.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling

Have you ever encountered a group of children that are just out of control? Alexander, Beowulf and Cassiopeia from The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling are probably three times worse that what you’re imagining.

Miss Penelope Lumley sees an ad about a governess for three children– and the ad says the governess is needed at once. So, setting off on a long journey, Penelope is forced to leave the safety of Swanburne Academy, a school for poor bright females and travels to Ashton Place, where Lady Constance and Lord Frederick Ashton live. Driven by Timothy the Coachman, one of the Ashton’s highly trusted servants, Penelope soon realizes that something is wrong at Ashton Place.

Agatha Swanburne, founder of Swanburne Academy once said, “A book is always judged by it’s cover until it is read.”  Now Penelope is about to read “a book”, and meet the suspiciously nervous Lady Constance, and question about why Timothy the Coachman lurks around every corner, and find out if she can train the children that were raised by wolves to act like normal kids.

Click on the image of the book (above) to view the website of the Incorrigibles.

Buy this book from Amazon.com!

Middleworld

Fresh hot pizza. Ice Cold Gelato. A classic Italian meal. But this picture perfect image is shattered for Max when his parents, archaeologists obsessed with the Maya, decide to cancel the family vacation in Italy and go on a ‘dig’. He is furious that he isn’t going to Italy and he has to stay with the family’s strange housekeeper, Zia. With his parents gone, Max has nothing to do… until Zia tells him that his parents need him and she gives him a ticket to San Xavier, where the dig is located. In San Xavier, Max has a spectacular adventure with a smart, pretty Maya girl (“out of his league” he thinks secretly), a quirky archaeologist and professor, talking monkeys battling against the evil schemes of Count Antonio de Landa. Read Middleworld by J&P (Jon and Pamela) Voelkel and you will not regret it.

AWESOME website for the Jaguar Stones series accessed here.

Click here for the publisher’s (EgmontUSA) review of the book.

Buy this book from Amazon.com!

Don’t forget to read Book Two of the series, The End of the World Club… it’s just as good.

Click on the cover of the book (↑) to buy the book from Amazon.com.

The False Prince

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy

by Jennifer A. Nielsen

342 pages of fast-paced, unpredictable adventure

The future of Carthya is an unsettled, unknown.  Can it remain a kingdom at peace or will it soon be plunged into the turmoil? Rumors are spreading throughout the kingdom that the beloved royal family has been murdered.  With no king, the court is divided and noblemen are gathering allies to insure their own ascendance the throne. A civil war seems imminent, unless Carthya is united. One nobleman, Conner devises such a plan.  He says he wants to unify the people and save the kingdom. Four years earlier strong willed Prince Jaron had been sent to Bymar.  He was to be educated there and “tamed” but pirates attacked the ship and all were lost.  Prince Jaron’s body, however, was never recovered and it is this point that Conner is basing his plan upon.  He seeks to find an impersonator of the lost prince of Carthya.

Conner purchases four orphans to train and compete for the role.  Each has his unique set of assets.  Tobias is rather well educated for an orphan.  He will read and rule well because of it.  Roden is strong and determined. He’ll be a good swordsman and rider.  Sage is defiant, independent and unpredictable.  It makes him difficult to work with, but it gives him the personality traits closely associated with the lost prince. In two weeks the boys must leave their orphan selves behind and become royalty.  They must learn to act like princes – in fact they must become Prince Jaron, or die.

Throughout the book Sage listens, watches and tells the story as Conner’s plan is revealed.  Layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold. Sage finds himself caught in this terrible game.  He is pulled along until finally, a truth is revealed that may very well prove more dangerous than all the previous lies put together.  Orphan or Prince, no life is easy, nor should it be taken for granted. 
The False Prince is an extraordinarily detailed adventure filled with unanticipated dangers and actions that will have you eagerly turning the pages and awaiting the next part of the Ascendance Trilogy.  Since I was never certain of what would be happening next in the first part of this trilogy, I can’t wait to discover the fates of each of the characters as their tales unfold.  How will Tobias and Roden’s lives develop?  Not orphans, but what exactly? What will become of Imogen?  What of Princess Amarinda of Drylliad?  Mott?  There is so much more story to know!

The Hero for Wondla

A Hero For WondLa (WondLa, #2)by Tony Diterlizi

437 pages of adventurous questioning

Summertime!  At last I have read the sequel to Tony Diterlizzi’s science fiction novel, The Search for WondLa and I liked it even more than the first.  This book continues all that was well done in the first and adds details to the plot, deepens the history surrounding the story and adds depth to the characters. The author continues to grow his wonderful world, building on the science and humnity that must coexist.  There is a real sense of danger and menace in this book created through the actions and choices the humans that Eva Nine, at long last, eagerly meets.  You’ll be wondering, “how can this be?” at the same time you’re thinking, “of course that is how it is, just look at what we are doing now in our world.”

A Hero for Wondla starts off where the last story ended when the human pilot, Hailey Turner, arrives claiming to have come to bring Eva home. Wise, loyal Rovee agrees to join her on this fantastic journey.  He believes his place is by Eva’s side.  Although Eva occasionally finds Hailey irritating, her excitement at meeting another of her kind quells these feelings. He promises to bring her to the human city, but first stops at his settlement outside.  Here Eva meets Hailey’s wise grandfather.  His stories ignite the flicker of a doubt in Eva, but those questions soon disappear when the glitter and color of New Attica surrounds her. Through her omnipod, one little machine, all of Eva’s history is known in the city.  Because of this she is able to get all she wants and needs, and yet, something does not feel right.  Even though Eva is surrounded by her kind and seems to have everything she has ever wanted, she longs for Rovee and his advice. She finds herself alone and afraid, confused and conflicted.

Eva wonders why there are no aliens in this city.  Why do some in the city have everything, while others have nothing?  Why is Eva the only human who knows that something good exists beyond the city’s dome?  Why is what exists in the city untrue and so controling? She wonders if she should follow laws to have what she needs if it feels all wrong.  Eva knows she is part of the human clan, but her experiences have helped her evolve into something more.  It is this difference will save Orbana, the planet Earth has become.  What can Eva Nine do for Earth, for  Orbana?    It is not knowledge of the past, awareness of the future or strength.  It takes time to show, but in the end it is the only thing that matters.

Enjoy The Hero for Wondla.  I hope you will show yourself to be the Eva among us!  What courage and calm.

The Serpent’s Shadow

The Serpent's Shadow (Kane Chronicles, #3)by Rick Riordan

416 pages of adventure for middle grade, Riordan fans.

The Serpent’s Shadow does a nice job of wrapping up the loose ends left in the first two books.  Sadie and Carter Kane work to defeat Apophos to ensure that creation rather than chaos remains the dominant power in the world.  The Kanes and the magicians of Brooklyn House are the last hope to save the world from final destruction.

There are opportunities to right past wrong and to appreciate the beauty of true friendship and the commitment through time of a family’s love.  Each time I read one of these books I realize that I don’t understand the underlying order of Egyptian mythology and the hierarchy of their gods.  I am curious about the Egyptian’s definition of time as all ages seem to coexist at the magician’s level.  And I wonder at how similar this tale is to the Norse tale of Ragnarok – the end of the gods.  They make me wonder at how people through time and from different parts of the world find such similar ways to share their stories of life and creation.

I am Number Four

I am Number Four

by Pittacus Lore

10 years ago the Mogadorians invaded the planet Loriens because they were running out of resources for food and water. All of the Loriens fought gallantly but the Mogadorians took them down without a fight. If the Loriens didn’t do something their race would become extinct. They managed to get 9 garde and nine cepan off of the planet and onto a rocketship that would fly to the land that was closest, Earth. Before leaving each of the gardes was assigned a number so if the Mogadorians were to try to kill the last of the Loriens in fear they would get theirlegacies and restore the planet that is rightfully theirs they would have to be killed in the order of their number. With only their cepans to guide them, the young and powerless gardes have to spread out and go into hiding. Even though they look like all the other humans in the world, they can tell who they are so they will never be safe.

 

Number four has just got 3rd scar. He is next in line. He will be killed next. Number Four must relocate and go into hiding immediately. He knows that he must develop his legacies fast in order to protect himself, his cepan and most importantly his race. To find out if he can do this before the Mogadorians track him and find him read I Am Number Four.

 

The ages that are recommended for this book are for 6th graders and any age above because of the tiny bit of romance. I loved reading this book because there was action that never ended. I also enjoyed reading the sequel; The Power Of Six were I learned more about the Loriens and some other events that tie perfectly into the story. These were great adventures that have you getting to know and like the characters, feel the suspense and have you wanting more. I am looking forward to reading the third book. READ IT!

~Jenny Long “READ IT!” Review

The Unseen Guest

The Unseen Guest (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #3)the 3rd in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

by Maryrose Wood

340 pages of mysterious adventure

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place grow on you from book to book, as does their tutor, Miss Penelope Lumley – trained at Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females.  They are smart, resourceful, brave and fun.

In this book we meet Bertha, Admiral Faucet (fah-say – not to be confused with the plumbing) and Lord Frederick’s mother.  We learn that she remains in mourning after the tragic loss of her husband in the medicinal tar pits while on a spa holiday many years before.  We also learn that Lord Edward (as that was his name) suffered an affliction that befell him at each full moon – he would scratch and howl and bark and yip.  This ceased upon Frederick’s birth, though it seems that Frederick acquired the symptoms.  His mother knows this.   His wife, Lady Constance, does not. He did not want to bore her with the details.  Miss Lumley, of course, has had her suspicions.

Lord Frederick’s mother has returned to the manor to ask for her son’s blessing on her marriage to the Admiral.  She is struggling to decide whether to follow her head or her heart in this matter.  The Admiral plans to use her money to establish ostrich (that is what Bertha is) racing in England and to produce all the accoutrements needed to support the venture.  He sees millions in his future, but first he must track down his bird.  Bertha has escaped into the woods of Ashton Place and the children are needed to help track her down.  Once in the woods their animal side is more pronounced and Miss Lumley fears she may have lost them.  After all why not stay in the woods when there is a dry, comfortable cave supplied all the quilts and feather pillows you need along with candles, art supplies, all you desire for learning, AND a picnic hamper full of delicious sandwiches – your exact favorite kinds!

Simon Harley-Dickinson comes back to help, as well as Madame Ionesco.  Old Timothy, the groom, again seems to mysteriously appear in all the right places at all the right times.  Things happen because he knows – ALL that he knows remains a mystery.

I am looking forward to the next book.  Until then I will enjoy the notions of never thinking about ELKS and the image of Alexander, Beowulf and Cassiopeia tossing their peas into the air to catch each time the raven calls, “nevermore” as Poe’s poem The Raven is read (Professional educator that she was, Penelope was proud to have devised a way to combine the study of poetry and the eating of vegetables into a single enjoyable lesson.) and Lady Constance’s attempts at hide and seek.

Who is Judge Quinzey?

The City of Lies

City of Lies (The Keepers, #2)by Lian Turner

278 pages of adventure fantasy

I’m going to work to see if the Imitation of Nothingness works – it would be very handy!

After I finished the Museum of Thieves I had so many questions that I was uncertain of how I felt about the book.  I wasn’t sure of the main message – was it freedom, was it being wary of the cruelty that comes from lust for power, was it listening to the voice within and acting on what you know in your heart to be right?  Why was the museum alive with wildness?  Is wildness good?

Some of those questions still remain now that I have completed the second in the Keeper Trilogy, The City of Lies, but I am not bothered by the wondering.  I am looking forward to the Path of Beasts to see if I will find the answers. (I hope so.)  The city of Jewel is still troubled but is recovering from the floods and the warped greed of the Fugleman and the Blessed Guardians.  Goldie is trying to decide if she is needed more by her parents or the museum.  She has been asked to become the 5th keeper and she would dearly like to take her place with Sinew, Herro Dan, Olga Ciavolga and Toadspit – Morg and Broo too.  The challenge is that her parents have not recovered from their sentence in the House of Repentence when she first ran away.  They are ill and frightened.  They depend on her and she feels the guilt and shame of having brought on their frailties.

While trying to make her decision, Goldie visits Toadspit, Bonnie his brave sister follows and is kidnapped.  Goldie and Toadspit follow to rescue her and Toadspit is caught.  Now it is up to Goldie to rescue them both in the wild city of Spoke during the Festival of Lies when everything is backward and upside down and only the opposite is true.

The magic that surrounds the lives of those who live in these books add a touch of mystery that makes you wonder – true or not.  No- it might be – well, maybe a little.  What will happen to Mouse?  How does he tell fortunes?  What doesn’t he talk?  What about Pounce?  What about the cat?  Why are animals, long thought to be extinct returning?  How is that part of the overall plan?  The new villains are not so new, but still just sinister as ever. At the end there may be a glimmer of hope on the horizon.  We’ll have to wait until October to see.  Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Another fun twist for me was learning that semaphore, margrave and margravine, bombardon and skerrick are real words.  The first means communicating messages with a flag system.  The second and third words on my list are the male and female titles given in medieval times to the families of the king’s protectors. The fourth is an instrument like a tuba.  And the last means a very small piece of shred.  I’m glad I looked to see if they were real or not – they were!