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    1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
    2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly
    3. Reaper
    4. The Heroes of Olympus, Book One:
    5. The Jungle Book
    6. Merlin's Harp
    7. Harry Potter Paperback Box Set
    8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself
    9. Mockingjay (The Final Book of
    10. Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My
    11. Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset
    12. The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
    13. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last
    14. The Hunger Games
    15. Catching Fire (The Second Book
    16. Jackson Jones, Book 1: The Tale
    17. Dog Days (Diary of a Wimpy Kid,
    18. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Box of Books
    19. The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles,
    20. The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook:

    1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
    by Lewis Carroll
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $0.00
    Asin: B000JQV3QA
    Publisher: Public Domain Books
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read (no exagerration)
    While this is generally considered a "children's book", Alice In Wonderland can only be fully appreciated by adults or teenagers. It contains so many private jokes, grammar puns, and other such stuff that a child would not understand it, really. I first read it when I was in first grade, a rather hard book really for first graders, and loved it incredibly. But rereading every year of my life since then (I am now fifteen) one finally can truly relish the great puns and imaginative ideas that Carroll (or Dodgson, his real name) placed within this extremely random book. Yes, there really isn't much of a single plot. It jumps from place to place. Just like a real dream. I don't understand why some people think that this is "scary" for little children though. C'mon, the Wizard of Oz and Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes (when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall- if little children aren't afraid of THAT, I don't what would scare them) is more frightening than this beautifully-crafted story. Note that the Queen of Hearts, though she has an insatiable urge to decapitate every person she sees, never really kills anyone- the Griffin says so. It's not frightening, rather, it's full of what little children like- randomness, smiling cats, violent-tempered queens, talking rabbits, and imaginary animals. If one is discovering this book for the first time, let it enchant you. If you are re-discovering this book, find in it the things you couldn't find before. If you are simply re-reading it for the fiftieth time (like me), then enjoy every single moment of it. It really is one of the best books I have read, right up there with- dare I say it- Colour Purple and Les Miserables. Yes, even Les Miserables.

    5-0 out of 5 stars In order to understand life and remain sane
    I have this book. It is beautifully illustrated. I do not understand the comment of a previous reviewer who complained about the number of illustrations. Nearly every page is beautifully illustrated. Every chapter is introduced with a two-page illustration. There are numerous two-page and full single-page illustrations throughout the book. I'm an adult who fell in love with this story when I saw Disney's Alice in Wonderland. This is a worthy addition to my collection of things Carroll. I recommend "The Wasp in a Wig" if you can find it. The end of this Alice... has a nice and concise description of Carroll's writing of the book, photographs of the cover and first page of Carroll's handwritten first version, and a wonderful tribute to John Tenniel, the illustrator of the first published edition who provided the classic drawings nearly all of us recognize. Buy this book for your kids but teach them to handle it carefully; buy this book for yourself even if you only have cats to read it to.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A colorful new 'Alice In Wonderland' edition, that puts a new spin on the timeless tale
    Young Alice has never been a patient child. Therefore, as she is sitting along the riverbank, listening to her sister drone on and on as she reads passages from a slightly boring book, Alice begins to find her mind wandering. After all, this particular book has no pictures to capture the eye. Alice begins thinking about doing something else, making a daisy chain, or climbing a tree, but she's too lazy to leave her comfortable spot. So, as she gazes about her, she finds herself drifting off to sleep, and soon she has spotted a White Rabbit dressed in fancy garb. She begins chasing the elusive rabbit, but quickly finds herself falling down a very deep rabbit hole that she had not seen previously. Alice is frightened as she tumbles down and down, but soon finds herself in a new world. A world not filled with dirt and daisies, but, rather filled with long hallways, and houses that are smaller than Alice herself. Soon, Alice begins encountering characters of all shapes and sizes. To the confusing Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, to the riddle-loving, smiling kitty known as the Cheshire Cat; all the way to the delightfully zany Mad Hatter who loves throwing tea-parties, and the vicious Queen of Hearts. But, as Alice continues wandering through this wondrous world of magic, where animals talk and dance, and even dress in fancy clothes, she begins to wonder how on earth she will ever find a way out of this backwards environment, and back to her sister, sitting upon the riverbank. For even though lazing about on the riverbank can be incredibly boring, sometimes it is preferred when your life is in danger by an evil ruler.

    I do not have to tell you how much I adore the tale of ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Since I was a young child I have been enamored by Alice's adventures to Wonderland, where she met an array of lovable characters who made you question the sanity of this backwards place, and the people who reside there. From the film to the pop-up books, and everything in between - Alice has been something I have cherished. Therefore, when I stumbled upon Alison Jay's newest edition of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, I could not pass up the opportunity to call it my own. The perfect thing about this edition is that the font is quite large, which makes it easier for younger readers to enjoy the tales of Alice on their own. The second thing I adore about this edition, of course, are the illustrations. Alison Jay is a magnificent artist who has laced almost every page with full-color illustrations of Alice and the various people and things she encounters during her trip to Wonderland. From the intelligent Caterpillar, to the delicious pink-frosting covered cupcakes she shares with the Mad Hatter at his tea party; and the delightful, yet strange game of flamingo and hedgehog croquet played with the Queen of Hearts, to Alice's trial with the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle. Each and every illustration is enjoyable to look at, and truly brings Lewis Carroll's words to life. A colorful new ALICE IN WONDERLAND edition, that puts a new spin on the timeless tale.

    Erika Sorocco

    5-0 out of 5 stars Master Illustration meets Alice
    It is wonderful to discover another classic of children's literature illustrated by Robert Ingpen. It is a beautiful book. Even if you already own another copy or other copies of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, you should add this book to your collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Surprising Things in Here that Are Not in Other Alice Editions
    The book is delightful, but I'm not talking about the story of Lewis Carrol itself. I'm talking, literally about the book -- its size, texture of pages, color of endpapers, texture of dustcover, that it has a built-in silky bookmark and so on. (This is one book in which it is the right thing to do to judge a book by its cover.) I'm also referring to the extra material, though. First are the illustrations which are really cool. Then there is plenty of commentary on the illustrations. There is also commentary on the Author, Illustrator, Foreward writer and even commentary on the typography of the book. Finally, the Foreward is amazing. I don't know if I agree with all that the Foreward writer says, but that Foreward sure helps to build your vocabulary. I've had six philosophy courses and I still had to look up dozens of words in the Foreward. Really advanced, arcane or even never-heard-of words -- why?, beats me. You would need a Ph.D. in literature to know all the words without a dictionary. So whether you're an adult wanting to increase your vocabulary or you want to buy a nice little book that is a delight itself in its physical being as a book, this is the Alice to buy. ... Read more

    2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth
    by Jeff Kinney
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $6.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0810984911
    Publisher: Amulet Books
    Sales Rank: 6
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Greg Heffley has always been in a hurry to grow up. But is getting older really all it’s cracked up to be?


    Greg suddenly finds himself dealing with the pressures of boy-girl parties, increased responsibilities, and even the awkward changes that come with getting older—all without his best friend, Rowley, at his side. Can Greg make it through on his own? Or will he have to face the “ugly truth”?

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! My niece loves this book too!
    *** Dec. 6, 2010
    My niece loves this book too. She loves the humor, the simple amusing cartoons, and the funny jokes in it.

    *** Nov. 30, 2010
    Greg and Rowley are best friends.
    But Greg's dad didn't like Rowley too much, because he thought Rowley was an accident prone kid, so Rowley may ruin his 'warfield' accidently. And Rowley's dad didn't like Greg, either, because two kids liked to do silly things together at home. Nowadays, many parents hope that their kid behaves properly. Reading good books are very important for kids. A good book is a good teacher.This book presents humorous stories that could make kids become more considerate. I feel very happy when my kid read this book and talk to me about the stories in the book.

    *** Nov. 27, 2010
    Greg's mom and dad had very different interests. She tried to train him to become more romantic while he only wanted to play his war games. He had to sit beside her to watch the romantic movies as she said so, then he'd try to slip out whenever possible. This is what happens to many couples every day. Reading this book makes me think about own daily life more objectively.

    *** November 9, 2010
    Greg's a very self-centered smart young schooler. His Dad wanted him to live up his potential, but often he had his own ideas. Greg had to learn how to communicate with his brother, though it's not a easy job. First he had to think and learn how to talk to his brother, because his brother was the person picking up Greg after school everyday. Greg's brother became really mad after Greg talked to him about how to drive his car. Finally Greg and his brother had a fight. Greg's mom had been a preschool teacher, so she thought she was very good at handle the situation. But Greg thought it didn't work at all. The book successfully illustartes Greg's thought processes. It seems like an actual diary in words and amusing pictures about Greg's daily life at home and at school.
    My son is a reluctant reader, but he really likes to read this book. I also enjoyed reading it! I would like to recommend this book to all schoolers, parents, teachers, and librarians.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Last book of the series (so far) didn't disappoint!
    Another very funny installment. If you haven't already read all of the previous books, you must read them first! The story of Greg's life continues. My favorite part from this book is, "When you're a little kid, nobody ever warns you that you've got an expiration date. One day you're hot stuff and the next day you're a dirt sandwich." :-) Great, funny stuff!

    5-0 out of 5 stars He loved it.
    My son has all of the books in this series. He says, 'It's one of the best series' ever.' He was very excited to get the newest book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
    Read in one sitting when it arrived. It has bee re-read and re-enjoyed. If you liked the others, you will like this one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thank You Jeff Kinney!
    For any of you who have a child who does not want to read, I suggest any of the Wimpy Kid books! I wish Jeff Kinney could come out with a book a week! My son does not like to read and fights me tooth and nail to read, however, he usually reads these books within 24-48hours now and asks to "Pre-order" them when he knows there is one coming out.

    Thank you Jeff Kinney! and continue the great work!

    5-0 out of 5 stars my son's review (age 9)
    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth is AWESOME!!!!! This book is very very funny. It involves Greg wanting to grow up too fast. Things go a little wild at Uncle Gary's wedding. Also, he has to have "the Talk' with his grandma Gammie, but after "the Talk" Greg might have to take her advice, or he might have to face the 'Ugly Truth." I recommend this book for people who have a good sense of humor. ... Read more

    3. Reaper
    by Rachel Vincent
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $2.99
    Asin: B004AYD50E
    Publisher: Harlequin Teen
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Tod Hudson was a typical teenager. He liked girls, sports, food and tolerated his younger brother, Nash. In fact, he had his whole life in front of him--and due to his bean sidhe heritage, it was going to be a very long life indeed. And then the car accident occurred.

    Suddenly Tod's future wasn't so sure, and he had to make a choice. Life... Death... or something Between....

    An ebook exclusive Soul Screamers series novella.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars reaper
    this book was extreemlyy ahhhmazzing. not only does it have real life connections but it also has great mystery and an outook on life . FIVE STARS.
    ONLY thing i would change is having nash talk to tod as a ghost and see what nash would say .

    5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!
    (Spoilers May Lie Here):

    Tod is an extremely elusive character in the original Soul Screamers books, you never know what he's doing, why he's doing it, or how he got there. This novella answers SOME of those questions.

    It portrayed Tod's sarcastic humor in a way that helped me not ball my eyeballs out when Tod dies. Instead of balling my eyeballs out I got a fresh dose of funny after every eye watering. And believe me your eyes WILL water when reading this book.

    Tod acts as if he's not a good guy because of what he did, but I am 100% positive that he is and this just makes me want him and Kaylee (the main character in the Soul Screamers series) together even more!!!

    I have to give this short story a 5/5 because of it's complete brilliance!
    ... Read more

    4. The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero
    by Rick Riordan
    list price: $18.99 -- our price: $10.15
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 142311339X
    Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
    Sales Rank: 17
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:

    Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
    To storm or fire the world must fall.
    An oath to keep with a final breath,
    And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

    Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars The gods have gone silent...

    When I first heard that Rick Riordan was setting another series in the same universe that he had created for Percy Jackson, I was both excited and a little wary. Excited because I had enjoyed that world and felt it had lots of potential for new adventures; wary because I feared the new series might not meet my expectations and that, if it didn't, it might somehow cast a pall over my affection for the Percy Jackson books. I need not have worried. The Lost Hero, the first book in that new series - the Heroes of Olympus - managed to meet all of my expectations and did so in a style that made me glad Riordan had gone ahead with the idea. While having read the Percy Jackson books is not a pre-requisite for enjoying The Lost Hero, I do think those who have done so will be able to immerse themselves in this world much more quickly and will enjoy the book more than those unfamiliar with Percy's story.

    The Lost Hero introduces three new main characters - Jason, who has no memory of his life before page one of the story, Piper, a girl with "kaleidoscope eyes" (all together now - Lucy in the sky-yi with diamonds...) who has the gift of persuading people to give her things and Leo, whose clever and creative hands need to be always busy. As the story begins, the three are part of a group from a school for troubled kids on a field trip to the horseshoe shaped Skywalk that curves out over the Grand Canyon. Since the very existence of this Skywalk in real life kind of freaks me out (seriously, have you seen the pictures of it?), I wasn't particularly surprised when freaky occurrences ensued almost as soon as our new heroes stepped onto it.

    Readers are pitched head-first into one of the first forays in a new battle the demi-gods will soon find themselves embroiled in. In short order we learn that the gods have gone silent and that Percy Jackson is missing. Jason, Piper and Leo are all having visions, dreams or reawakened memories, many of which revolve around Hera who, we discover, is being held prisoner. Along with a new Great Prophecy (Seven half-bloods shall answer the call/To storm or fire the world must fall/An oath to keep with a final breath/and foes bear arms to the Doors of Death), a new quest must be undertaken by the trio of newbies to find and free Hera.

    I appreciate that Riordan continues to give us both strong female and ethnically diverse characters and that he seems able to hit many of the right notes in depicting teenage language, actions and emotions. For me, he has a knack for making his characters seem real and believable and, in The Lost Hero, he once again succeeds in making me care about them. My sympathy for and interest in the trio builds as details of their lives are revealed in the early chapters of the book (each chapter is told from either Jason, Piper or Leo's third person POV) and by the time they head off on their quest, I'm fully invested in seeing them through their adventures.

    One of my favorite aspects of The Lost Hero is the inclusion of Roman mythology with the Greek that was the focus in the Percy Jackson series. I found the discussions of the subtle differences in the gods from one culture to the other really interesting and reading about them made me want to learn more about both.

    Lastly, for those dying to know, Percy Jackson definitely plays a role in this series. How significant that role will be remains to be seen. Next up in the series is The Son of Neptune, due in the fall of 2011.

    Highly recommended. Riordan has laid the groundwork here for another fun and exciting series and I'm already looking forward to the next book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Lost Hero: Riordan's Best Book Yet?
    Rick Riordan's son told him that The Lost Hero, the first in the author's new Heroes of Olympus series, was his best book yet, even better than break-out sensation Percy Jackson and the Olympians. He was absolutely right. In May, I said The Red Pyramid, the first in new Egyptian series The Kane Chronicles was Riordan's best book yet. I loved the way he had come into his own as an author with a distinguished voice all his own. Unlike with PJ, you weren't comparing things to other popular series such as Harry Potter. This was a Rick Riordan book. It was HIM. I'll say the same thing about The Lost Hero. Riordan has really become a talented storyteller.

    One thing I love about Riordan is the way he uses mythology, a genre that's always been dear to my heart. One thing that made The Kane Chronicles so fantastic was the fact that I learned so much about Egyptian mythology. I already knew a lot of the Greek mythology emphasized in PJ and it wasn't as detailed. With The Lost Hero, even though Riordan is delving into Greek mythology once more, he's taking the time to focus on little-known details and facts. There's a lot more information on the Romans, for example, as well as little-known gods and goddesses such as Khione, the goddess of snow.

    The new book feels very tight and detailed. By the time the five-book series reaches its conclusion, there will be an epic tale for readers to return to. I like the way Riordan made the decision to split the book into the viewpoints of three different demigods, much as he did with The Kane Chronicles. It really allowed you to get into the head of everyone on the quest, not just one of the heroes. You could see the way they each struggled to come to terms with their new powers and immortal parents in their own way. I anticipate that every book will be this way as we are introduced to each of the seven demigods revealed in the Great Prophecy. I also feel that there's a good chance the next book will feature characters we haven't met yet and that the heroes we've encountered in this volume either won't appear at all, or not until the finale. If this proves to be the case, it will further solidify Riordan's merit as an extremely talented writer; breaking your characters up between volumes writers can make the writing process harder, as seen by struggles that have delayed authors such as George R. R. Martin from releasing material more frequently.

    As with his other books, Riordan creates a fast, nail-biting pace from the get-go in his new series and introduces new characters for his readers to fall in love with. There's Jason, whose name brings back memories of one of the greatest heroes of old, Piper, who takes everyone by surprise by having such powerful gifts, especially given her parentage, and finally Leo, a son of Hephaestus with a wicked cool toolbelt and a penchant for fire-breathing dragons. We're also given updates regarding the new of what has become of our favorite heroes and heroines from the first Camp Half-Blood series. The nice thing about The Lost Hero is that you don't have to read the PJ series in order to get into this one. The two series complement one another and work together, but for a first-time reader, things will still make sense.

    The series is designed to keep readers on their toes. If you're astute and know your mythology, you'll probably realize who the main villain is early on. Given enough clues, you'll probably realize the truth about Jason as well. There's also a good chance that you may figure out the truth revealed in the final chapter (and the reason Riordan wouldn't reveal the name of the next book at the live simulcast launch party on Tuesday). At the same time, you may be blown away with each new discovery. I tend to be one of those readers who reads too many books for her own good and learned how to read with a critical eye, which makes fooling me harder than most. At the same time, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Some of my theories were very wrong and proven to be from almost the beginning, others developed as the novel progressed and I had an "Ah-ha!" moment, pleased with myself when my suspicions proved true. I was so involved in the novel and fate of all the characters. I wish I had the next book in my greedy little hands already. Scratch that. I wish I had the next two, if we don't get to see these characters again until book three.

    If you liked Percy Jackson (or even disliked it due to its similarities to other novels, like some people I know) or enjoy mythology, this book is one of this fall's must-reads. My only hope for the rest of the series is that a closer eye is paid to the editing process. You could tell the book was rushed to press; I'm one of those annoying readers that can be pulled out of the moment when there's a word or comma where there shouldn't be (or something glaringly missing, too). These books are too good to let such neglect mar them and allow for criticism in the future.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Welcome Back!
    First, I highly recommend reading the Percy Jackson books first (but don't bother with the movie -- it kinda sucked). It's not essential for understanding the story, but that way you're able to jump right in and enjoy.

    Lost Hero takes place a few years after Last Olympian. Enter Jason, a boy with no memory, and his friends Piper and Leo. They make their way into Camp Half Blood, and are granted a quest to rescue a goddess. But this isn't simply a rehashing of Percy Jackson, for there are surprising complications, and of course, new monsters to face. We briefly get to see Annabeth, who is fiercely searching for Percy Jackson who is missing. And Rachel makes an appearance, and a prophecy or two. This was a fun read, with great characters, and just different enough that you don't feel like you're being told the same story as last time.

    Fair warning: Lost Hero is the first in the series, so by reading this, you are setting yourself up for a long wait. This story wraps up one story arc, but throws out teasers of what's to come.

    As an aside, I miss the awesome chapter titles from the Percy Jackson books.

    These are also great books to listen to. Jesse Bernstein did a great job of narrating the Percy Jackson books.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Continuation of Camp Half Blood Story!
    People who liked the Percy Jackson books will love this first installment of the new companion series. It follows three new heroes and is set in the same world as Percy Jackson, a couple of years later. Riordan makes a switch from the first person view of Percy to a third person rotating POV featuring the three new heroes: Jason, Piper, and Leo. I really liked this switch. It worked great with the new characters and made them feel equally important to the story. There are also cameos by some favorite PJ characters which I thoroughly enjoyed. The story in this one was pretty cool, but it is clear by the end that the follow-ups will be pretty epic, and now I can't wait to get my hands on them.

    5-0 out of 5 stars 9 year old's perspective

    My 9 old's comments below.
    This book is awesome!It is full of adventure and action! It is a very creative book!
    I could read it 100 more times!I hope Rick Riordan writes more "Heros of Olympus"

    P.S.[Read the "Percy Jackson and the Olympions" series]

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Start for the Series
    This book starts a new series of tales about the Ancient Greek Gods and their modern half-blood children. This series continues the story where the Percy Jackson series ended, and many of the same characters are in it, but so are some new ones. The main addition, Jason, will apparently be the lead character for this series. He enters this story with no memory and much of the book has him trying to figure out who he is. Jason, along with the other new additions Piper and Leo are introduced and developed in this book as they go on a quest to free a trapped goddess. As with the Percy Jackson books, this one is full of non-stop action and includes plenty of set-up for the additional books to come.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Lost Hero
    The incredible tales of mythology in modern times continues as Rick Riordan's "The Lost Hero" has recently become available.

    In the Percy Jackson series the whole series focused on a prophecy. This prophecy promised to destroy the world without the help of Percy Jackson. Now in the Hero's of Olympus series instead of one hero, we need seven.

    The book starts out with the main character, Jason, waking up on a bus and having no idea where he is or even who he is. Two of his friends, ones he is sure he has never met try to figure out just what happened. But in true Riordan spirit they are soon attacked and the three of them discover that they're not just ordinary kids.

    They arrive in Camp Half blood. Unlike Percy, the three children take the news of gods rather well. Especially Jason. The funny thing is, is he prefers to call the gods by their Roman names. Almost as if he is Roman.

    All three children are claimed soon after their arrival and it is evident that they are three of the seven from the dreaded prophecy. As they are at camp strange things happen. They all have dreams of Hera, or Juno as Jason calls her. She is trapped. These dreams are also the first time in a month that the gods have communicated with the demigods. Annabeth receives a dream from Hera as well. While the others are confused, Annabeth hopes it will help her find her boyfriend. That's right folks, Percy Jackson has gone missing. It's almost been a month.

    While at camp, Jason, Piper and Leo, the new recruits, receive a prophecy from Rachel. For Piper and Leo this means their first quest. But Jason is sure this isn't his first quest.

    The enemy is greater than the last, the dreaded Kronos. In fact it is a rather unlikely enemy. And this is only the beginning. The three of them will set off to try to destroy the king of the giants, the abductor of Hera.

    They all have insecurities, which makes them all the more likely, ironically. There's Piper daughter of the one Goddess she wishes she weren't. What can she do, if she doesn't even feel comfortable with who her parent is? Then there's Leo. Who would want him around? Nobody ever has before. He may even be the reason his mother is dead. And of course there's Jason. Who was he? Was he even really a hero.

    This is a brilliant beginning to what is guaranteed to be an amazing series. Riordan is at his finest. This is a great adventure, one you will not want to miss.

    5-0 out of 5 stars excellent book
    This book was excellent. It really kept you interested, it makes me wish the next book was already out. I've read my share of literature both classic and modern. In the modern catigory this one definately is a top contender. It is an easy read because it is targeted for a younger audience but still, excellent. I have to admit though I should have seen the ending coming -- it's so easy to forget details in that book that it isn't even funny. I really enjoy the humor that is mixed into the book as well. I would rate it right along side his first series. ... Read more

    5. The Jungle Book
    by Rudyard Kipling
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $0.00
    Asin: B000JQU7JO
    Publisher: Public Domain Books
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars The Jungle Book - Malvina Vogel Adaptation
    Don't get me wrong. Kipling's Jungle Book is Awesome. The problem with this adaptation is that it is not Kipling's Jungle Book. Be careful what you order!! The language and tone of Vogel's adaptation is changed in ways that strip the stories of the sense of pride and self that made the originals such tremendous lessons, and of the subtle darkness that gave them the ring of truth. It's almost worse than Disney's handiwork, because in a certain sense it purports to be the orginal story!

    Some examples:

    Original Version: Ye choose and ye do not choose! What talk is this of choosing? By the bull that I killed, am I to stand nosing into your dog's den for my fair dues? It is I, Shere Khan who speak!

    Adapted Version: How dare you talk of choosing. I, Shere Khan, demand that cub.
    Original Version: They fed me behind bars from an iron pan till one night I felt that I was Bagheera - the Panther - and no man's plaything, and I broke the silly lock with one blow of my paw and came away.

    Adapted Version: After my mother died there, I broke the silly lock with one blow of my paw and escaped.

    Original Version: He is a man, a man's child, and from the marrow of my bones I hate him!

    Adapted Version: Remember, he is just a man.

    Original Version: "Also, I paid for him with a bull when he was accepted. The worth of a bull is little, but Bagheera's honor is something that he will perhaps fight for," said Bagheera in his gentlest voice. "A bull paid ten years ago!" the Pack snarled. "What do we care for bones ten years old?"
    "Or for a pledge?" said Bagheera, his white teeth bared under his lip. "Well are ye called the Free People!"

    Adapted Version: And I paid for him with a bull when he was accepted into the pack," added Bagheera. "What do we care about a bull we ate ten years ago" snarled the young wolves. "What do you care about promise either?" snapped Bagheera.

    And so on....

    Virtually every paragraph is watered down like this. Was this done to make it easier reading for today's reading-challenged youths? Or to introduce PC to this classic (we obviously can't have any talk of "brown men", killing, hatred, or of fighting for principles). Whatever the reason, the entire flavor of the original is changed. Kipling was doing fine without the help.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Thing
    My favorite books from childhood have always been Milne's "The World of Pooh" and Kipling's "The Jungle Book". Over the years I have purchased many copies of each as presents. Both can be difficult to find in versions unaltered from the original. I have found this to be particularly true in the case of The Jungle Book. Some folks just don't seem to get that Kipling had a pretty good handle on what he was doing. One does not tamper with a Masterpiece.

    This version is the real thing. It reads word for word the same as the tattered, 40-year-old copy that I first read when I was eight years old. Add illustrations by Robert Ingpen that faithfully capture the emotion of the story and you have a real winner. For those who appreciate The Jungle Book as it was BEFORE it was adulterated by Mr. Disney and friends, this is a very worthy effort.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kipling's Masterful Storytelling, History, and Modern Mythology Come Together
    Legends are made from legends. Rudyard Kipling dug deep into the tales of the jungle from his years living in India, and drew from them the kinds of stories that live forever.

    "The Jungle Book" is more than how Mowgli, the man cub, learns to live and survive amongst enemies like Shere Khan. The intense mongoose vs cobra "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," also well-known, is here, as are several lesser-known and unrelated adventures.

    Richly written, with details and contexts unfamiliar to Western readers, "The Jungle Book" lifts imagination and language beautifully. Poetic, and written in a literary style, it shines above most modern prose.

    This is the stuff of afternoon stories read to older boys and girls. Young teens will while away rainy evenings, unwilling to part until finished. Sometimes scary and always exciting, Kipling also uses the book to teach lessons much greater than a jungle in India.

    When chapters were first read to me many years ago, I listened gawk-eyed, listening intently for as long as my mother would read. I read it with different eyes now, but no less a young boy as I worry how Baloo will handle the Bandar-Log monkeys.

    It isn't perfect. A few scientific details are fudged (wolf pack breeding structure, for example), but nothing that matters in the big picture. Kipling will have you in the palm of his hand, even though it was first published over 100 years ago.

    May "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling be as amazing to you as it has been to me.


    5-0 out of 5 stars Classic for Children, Classic for Adults, Classic Influence on later writers
    This collection is probably the single best starting place for reading Kipling, especially for younger or teen readers (though the very youngest would probably enjoy his _Just So Stories_ more). These stories are great reads, enjoyable by all ages.

    Fans of the movie will find a more complex work here -- not "darker," but more ambiguous; the three stories from this collection that have generally been adapted into other media, and that most readers think of when they think of "The Jungle Book", focus on outcast human infant, Mowgli, who is abandoned as an infant in the jungle and raised by wolves, and primarily tell the story of his search for a "place" within the wolf pack, the Jungle, and the human world, and his outsider status in all three realms. Perhaps because they focus almost entirely on the Indian jungle, or perhaps because they're aimed at children, these stories are also largely free of the undertone (overtone?) of imperialism that runs through much of Kipling's work for adults.

    It has, of course, been massively influential on later writers, from Edgar Rice Burrough's _Tarzan_ to Neil Gaiman's _The Graveyard Book_. The various morals contained within the "Mowgli" stories were also taken as a motivational book within the Scouting movement (reading this helped me understand why I had to memorize "Akela" when I was a cub scout).

    While only three stories in this collection focus on Mowgli, Kipling did write a second collection, "The Second Jungle Book," which is almost entirely comprised of Mowgli stories, and which I would highly recommend if you like these tales. If you want to read more of Kipling's work for adults, I'd recommend either "The Man Who Would be King" or the short story collection "Plain Tales from the Hills," both of which should be available for free online.

    As to formatting of this kindle edition: there are blocks of Kipling's poetry in between the stories, some of which was difficult to read as the formatting had not carried over well to this Kindle edition. Not a critical issue, but Kipling's poetry is excellent and the formatting errors were annoying.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Learn the Jungle Law, it's still in effect
    The story of Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in the jungles of 19th century India, charmed me when I was young no less than it does today. Kipling wrote this to celebrate his love of India and it's wild animals as well as to show again some of his frequent themes of honor, loyalty, and perserverance. While his writing may seem 'dated' to some, to others the truths he includes rise above politics and 'current correctness'. Baloo the Bear, Shere Khan the Tiger, Bagheera the Panther, Kaa the Python were all childhood friends of mine, and reading these Jungle Book stories to your own children today will result in their exposure to such old fashioned concepts as sticking by your friends in adversity, helping your family, relying on yourself. Good lessons then, good lessons now. Mowgli learns the value of 'good manners' early on, learns that 'all play and no work' leads to unexpected troubles, learns that thoughtless actions can have devasting consequences. By showing Mowgli in an often dangerous 'all animal' world, we see reflections of modern human problems presented in a more subtle light. Kipling leads children down the jungle path into adventures beyond their day to day imagining and along the way, he weaves subtle points in and out of the stories, he shows the value of 'doing for yourself', of 'learning who to trust'. All of this in a tale of childhood adventure that's never been equaled. The book is over 100 years old now, and there are terms & concepts from the age of Empire that aren't 'correct' today. Parents can edit as needed as they read bedtime stories, but I've found that children learn early on that the world changes, and that some ideas that were popular long ago did not prove to be correct. Explaining this, too, is a part of parenting. Some of our current popular ideas may not stand the test of time, but I suspect that 100 years from now parents will still read the Jungle Book to their children. And the children will still be charmed, thrilled and instructed in valuable life-lessons.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kipling for goodness sake! And better than a movie!
    You will be sold on Kipling. And you may never settle for the movie afterwards; Jungle Book lives and breaths on its own.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WELL BEYOND DISNEY
    The Jungle Book

    When we say "The Jungle Book" most of us invariably think of Disney's films, both animated and live action, that have become the norm for Rudyard Kipling's immortal children's stories. While the Disney interpretation is fun and enchanting, it makes a dramatic departure from the actual stories and takes considerable creative license in telling just a part of the Kipling stories. Even what we get from Disney falls considerably short of the applicable parts of Kipling's original that Disney used. What? Kaa, the snake, as Mowgli's friend and powerful ally? What? A deeper story of Mowgli's experience as a wolf and his relationships with Mother wolf and Father wolf? Oh yes, much, much more.

    Kipling's original masterpiece also includes several other wonderful chapters about the continuing adventures of Mowgli and also adds the marvelous tale of "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," the heroic mongoose whose battles with wicked cobras in an Indian garden easily matches Mowgli's showdowns with Shere Khan.

    The book also includes the tale of "The White Seal." This short chapter of "The Jungle Book(s)" provides a wonderful commentary, in the form of animal parable, on human society, competition, male ego and human pride. Our hero, Kotick, the white seal, through his fearless explorations and his willingness to fight for a dream, changes the minds of his parents, his peers and his society for the better. The invitation to each of us is very clear to find and free the white seal that exists in all of us.

    Don't get balled up in the notion that "The Jungle Book" is just for kids. A look beneath Kipling's wonderful prose reveals, like most great children's classics, that the author is using the unintimidating forum of children's literature to speak to kids of all ages with the hope that somehow we'll all finally get it.

    Buy the book, read it, read it to the kids you know and learn the lesson.

    Douglas McAllister ... Read more

    6. Merlin's Harp
    by Anne Eliot Crompton
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $6.99
    Asin: B003TFE0A4
    Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
    Sales Rank: 686
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    When I was yet a very young woman I threw my heart away. Ever since then I have lived heartless, or almost heartless, the way Humans think all Fey live.

    Among the towering trees of magical Avalon, where humans dare not tread, lives Niviene, daughter of the Lady of the Lake. Her people, the Fey, are folk of the wood and avoid the violence and greed of man. But the strife of King Arthur's realm threatens even the peace of Avalon. And while Merlin the mage has been training Niviene as his apprentice, he now needs her help to thwart the chaos devouring Camelot. Niviene's special talents must help save a kingdom and discover the treachery of men and the beauty of love...

    "The story glows...a mythical tapestry that is at once completely recognizable yet utterly fresh..."
    -Publishers Weekly

    "Like The Mists of Avalon, the Arthurian legend from a woman's point of view."
    -USA Today

    "Readers will be enchanted...the characters and strands of the famous legend are skillfully woven together here."
    -School Library Journal

    "Take heed: the feminist possibilities of the Arthurian legendary cycle were not exhausted by Marion Zimmer Bradley's bestselling The Mists of Avalon... A riveting good read."

    What readers are saying:

    "A rather unique look at the legend of King Arthur."

    "An exquisite addition to Arthurian literature."

    "The writing is lyrical; the plot twists are original. Great!"

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic
    Reading Merlin's Harp, I realized something about novels that portray the interaction between the human world and Faerie. They usually don't tell the stories of fae folk in their own homeland. There are exceptions, of course, but authors tend to focus on faeries stuck in the human world, or humans encountering Faerie. I think I may know why that is. When writing about faeries living in Faerie, it's all too easy to have nothing happen.

    Anne Eliot Crompton uses beautiful, if occasionally stilted, language to draw us into her take on Arthurian legend:

    "When I was yet a young woman I threw my heart away.

    I fashioned a wee coracle of leaf and willow twig and reed, a coracle that sat in the hollow of my two palms. In this I placed my wounded, wretched heart, and I set it adrift on the rain-misted wavelets of the Fey river, and I watched it bob and whirl, sail and sink. Ever since I have lived heartless, or almost heartless, cold as spring rain, the way Humans think all Fey live. Humans I have known would be astounded to learn that I ever had a heart that leapt, brightened, fainted, quickened, warmed, embraced, froze or rejected, like their own."

    The narrator is Niviene, daughter of the Lady of the Lake. In the ensuing chapters, Niviene endeavors to tell us how she came to the point of throwing her heart away. This ornate, image-rich prose continues, and Niviene meanders and digresses in her tale. She'll mention an old family friend, then backtrack and tell us all about how she came to meet him before going back to the main thread of her narrative.

    By combining the flowery style with a narrative that is ever looping back on itself, Crompton conveys a sense of what Faerie is said to be like. It's beautiful and hypnotic, and time doesn't flow in Faerie the way it does in the human realm. The trouble is, it's *too* hypnotic. Lulling. Dreamlike. Reading Merlin's Harp made me sleepy. While falling into an enchanted slumber and waking on the cold hillside is very much in keeping with Faerie tradition, it doesn't help propel one through a novel.

    It also doesn't help that not much happens in the first hundred pages or so, which is as far as I got before giving up. Roughly the first ninety pages are taken up with an interpretation of the Lady of Shalott tale, and a rather uninteresting one. The main problem is Gwenevere, who spends this entire sequence drugged and being toddled around like a doll. Sure, she's gorgeous, but can physical beauty alone account for the trouble she unwittingly causes here? I've seen sympathetic Gweneveres and unsympathetic ones, but all the best portrayals afford her some charisma that helps explain why she is so loved.

    This is followed by a four-page sequence (I counted) in which Niviene gets pregnant and gives birth to a son, the son grows to the age of five, and then the son goes missing. All in four pages. That was when I decided to give up. If it takes ninety pages for a young boy to break a young girl's heart in favor of a pretty woman in a stupor, and four pages for a fetus to become a five-year-old, the pacing is just a little too strange for me, Faerie or no.

    Merlin's Harp contains some lovely language and an interesting perspective on the Matter of Britain, but finally the pacing and the hypnotic effect were too much for me. I recommend it to fans of lush prose who have plenty of coffee on hand.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The writing is lyrical; the plot twists are original. Great!
    Merlin's Harp is an exquisite addition to Arthurian literature. Anne Crompton's writing is lyrical and beautiful. It leads you into the story and keeps you there. Her very original presentation of well known characters, well known story lines, and even objects such as the Grail is so very intriguing that you do not want to put the book down until you have finished it. Her central character Niviene is delightfully "odd" and fantastical. This is a Niviene no one has seen before. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is one of the few books that really does take you into another world. When you put it down, when you have read every page, you are left with a feeling of amazement and sheer delight in the experience.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fresh perspective with new insights !
    Merlin's Harp is a great short read (one day ), that will transport the reader back to Arthurian times through the eyes of an important, but not much talked about player. The book reminds me of 'Forest House' by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It is light reading, yet keeps your interest. Merlin's Harp will give the reader new insight on Lancelot and Melwas, with a new revelation on Merlin and the Holy Grail

    5-0 out of 5 stars Creative - Original - Excellent
    If you liked Mists of Avalon, here is another book you will enjoy. The book is based on the perspective of a Fey woman. The first few chapters focus entirely on the life of the Fey and I found it a very interesting perspective. Merlin is introduced as is Guenevere and Arthur and Lancelot - though you don't know this at first. The introduction of characters is subtle and almost elusive. Not until later in the book does the plot twist and turn and bring you to the familiar aspects of the Arthurian legend we all recognize. It is a fast and intriguing read. I also liked her inclusion of Merlin's songs throughout the novel. They brought the poetic oral tradition of the legend into the book to show how the story evolved over time to the tale we know today. I highly recommend this book! ... Read more

    7. Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)
    by J.K. Rowling
    list price: $86.93 -- our price: $52.15
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0545162076
    Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
    Sales Rank: 31
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Now for the first time ever, J.K. Rowling’s seven bestselling Harry Potter books are available in a stunning paperback boxed set! The Harry Potter series has been hailed as “one for the ages” by Stephen King and “a spellbinding saga’ by USA Today. And most recently, The New York Times called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the “fastest selling book in history.” This is the ultimate Harry Potter collection for Harry Potter fans of all ages!
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Amazing
    There's no question that the contents of the books inside this so-called chest are of the highest order. The entire Harry Potter epic was ingenious, brilliant, engaging, and encouraged hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of young readers to read when they might have rather played with their Xbox.

    But this is about the packaging, and the packaging is just horrid.

    I wasn't expecting something that was as heavy and substantial as, say, a pirate's chest, but I certainly was hoping that the box was more sturdy than a few flaps of cardboard rather cheaply assembled, and easily DISassembled.

    I bought this so that I would have a full set of unread hardcovers with the original artwork, for the sake of posterity. In one of the worst marketing decisions I've seen regarding the Harry Potter series, the publishers thought it would be a good idea to include the extras (decals and whatnot - things I'm not interested in) shrink wrapped with the books. To get at them, you have to tear the shrink wrap, and thus compromise the books over time (a long period of time, and admittedly not much would be compromised).

    Also, the clasp on the box was cheap plastic. Horrible. I almost broke it when undoing it. Is a metal clasp too much to ask for? Apparently it is.

    I'm not completely dissatisfied with the purchase, because the books are phenomenal. I would have purchased a compilation of all seven books at some point, but I wish I had waited until they offered such a product without the sadly and unfortunately shoddy "chest". When I bought this product, I absolutely, 100% was buying the packaging, and the packaging was dismal.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great series. Great set.
    These are great books, and definitely worth having for the collector. This is not a review of the books, but a review of the price. You are getting ripped off if you pay over $200 for these books. You can buy this exact set on which is the british version of amazon for 120 pounds plus shipping (which at the exchange rate today is equal to $176 plus shipping). So please look at the website like i did and save yourself a whole lot of money. Buyer Beware of sellers like this trying to con you into thinking they are giving you a deal.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful set.
    First off let me start by saying DO NOT buy from these sellers, they are con artists trying to make a quick buck. You can buy this same set from and even with expedited shipping it is less than half of this price.

    Now on to the books themselves; They are extremely beautiful books. Cloth bound with gilt edges and ribbon bookmarks. The books seem very sturdy and have nice pages, they aren't as thick as the pages on the american editions, but are not by any means cheap.

    The only real differences between these editions and the american editions are the covers and just a few words that are slightly changed here and there, also these editions do not have chapter art work.

    I would recommend these books to any die hard Harry potter fans and collectors, not everyone will appreciate them. Overall I love them and am very glad that I purchased them 5 star value for sure!! ... Read more

    8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book
    by Jeff Kinney
    list price: $10.95 -- our price: $4.78
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0810979772
    Publisher: Amulet Books
    Sales Rank: 30
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Now every kid can write like a Wimpy Kid!


    An exciting companion to the bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.


    “First of all, let me get something straight: This is a journal, not a diary.”


    This innovative interactive journal based on Greg Heffley’s own “diary” lets kids express themselves in an exciting new way. In Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book, kids will be asked: What was the best dream you ever had? The worst thing you ever ate? The best secret you ever heard? The most trouble you ever got in for something that wasn’t even your fault to begin with? This Do-It-Yourself Book features art throughout, along with ruled and blank pages for readers to create their own stories, keep their own diaries, and record their favorites and least faves. Includes a bonus full-color comics section featuring the collected cartoons of Greg Heffley and his best friend, Rowley.


    16 pages of full-color comics!


     “Move over, Harry Potter. . . . There’s a new set of titles dominating the bestseller list for kids’ chapter books, and there’s nothing ‘fantasy’ about these.”—Andrea Yeats on NPR’s All Things Considered


    “Perfectly pitched wit and believably self-centered hero . . .”—The New York Times


    “Charming and hilarious from the get-go. . . . [Kinney has] an uncanny eye for the depredations and triumphs of middle school life.” —The Boston Globe


    “The writing is sharp, and the artwork, though deceptively simple, is both entertaining and expressive . . . adding comic punch to these funny-because-they’re-true scenes . . .” —Bookpage


    “Perfect for someone about to go to middle school, perfect for parents to help ease their child into this new phase. . . . Kinney has done a wonderful service for preteens by talking about all those awful, embarrassing, and good moments.” —The San Diego Union Tribune


    F&P level: T
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars They love it!
    I have a kindergartener and a third grader who are gung ho over "Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book." My 8 year-old son, who never enjoyed writing, is writing every day in his own diary. The kids fought over it until my kindergartener went out and bought her own.

    I asked my son what was so special about this diary. He said it asks him questions. I looked and half the book is filled with pages prompting things like "Five things nobody knows about you because they never bothered to ask" or "The worst nightmare you ever had." There are 16 pages of full color Zoo-Wee Mama comics followed by lined blank pages for the children to write freely.

    This Do-It-Yourself Book is a hit. My kids have shown their books to all their friends and I've seen other kids toting them around, as well. It inspired my children to go on and buy their own private locked diaries after having gone through this one. If you have a "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" fan, this book is sure to delight.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Recovering Wimpy Kid
    I am 42 years old and bought this book, not for one of my kids, but for me! I am 42 years old and am almost COMPLETELY FINISHED with MY Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do It Yourself Book INCLUDING the journal portion in the back. I was a cartoonist as a kid, I am now a recovering wimpy kid, and I am an avid journaler, so this book rates very high in my world. And my kids love to pick it up and see what new thing Dad came up with. It has inspired their creativity and my 7 year old is dying for her own copy. Set the example, parents, do your own Do It Yourself Book and be your kids' hero! Loved the first two books before it, by the way. RECOVERING WIMPY KIDS UNITE!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally!
    We finally found the perfect series for our 10 year old son. This book is so disarming that he is doing creative writing and doesn't even know it! This is what learning should be for a 10 year old! This book follows the "Diary" series and allows kids to finish cartoons, write future predictions, and answer questions that every 10 year old boy wants to answer. Highly recommend.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mike's review
    Fantastic book. My two youngest kids - my son and daughter, respectively - loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do it Yourself book. It actually was for my son, but my daughter kept stealing it from him and writing her own things in it, thus creating arguments (typical for those two anyway). Now they both want more Wimpy Kid books from the series and she wants her own Do It Yourself book. I now have ideas for useful birthday and Christmas presents that's not another toy and motivates them to put their day and thoughts in written words and do so creatively. THANK YOU Jeff Kinney. As a longtime sportswriter, I feel writing, especially a journal or diary, is very important at every age. :)

    Mike Boyd
    Ste. Genevieve, Mo.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it
    my grandchildren loved this . They have devoted much time to trying to complete it.Much better than video games or tv.It requires some reading and thought and I certainly don't feel guilty about using it as a babysitter.Can't wait for them to read it five or ten years from now

    5-0 out of 5 stars My daughter loves this DIY book!!
    My daughter is a huge Diary of a Wimpy Kid fan, so when she found out that there was a DIY book, she couldn't wait to get one! She received this for her birthday, and has been writing in it ever since! It's filled with plenty of parts that kids can fill in themselves, in addition to the usual comics-type pictures and such. Overall, very pleased with this book, and my daughter is as well! Would make a great gift for any Diary of a Wimpy Kid fan. :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars great book
    I bought the whole set of the Wimpy kid and my son loved them, he thought they were very funny and finished reading this book in one seating ...... It was very easy to read !

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great for creative kids
    My 8-year old creative son loves this book. It provides a great methodology for him to express himself in a creative way that he would not have thought of on his own. The book accomplishes this by having the child answer questions, draw pictures, create stories, and draw & write cartoons. My son is a second grader, and I think this is the minimum grade level for this book due to the book's content and the required writing skills.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!!
    This extention of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is absolutely BRILLIANT and I want to personally thank Jeff Kinney and if it wasn't his own idea, whoever in his life or at the publishing house came up with the concept of a journal tie in with the series.

    One of the reasons the the Wimpy Kid series is so popular, besides the first person kid narration and boy appeal stories, is the mix of visuals (cartoons/doodles) that make the book easy and appealing to a young reader. It also provides visual imagery that kids who may have low reading comprehension have difficulty processing on their own. I also like that it's a series of vignettes that tie into an overarching plot. This is also more palatable to a young reader. Now take that concept and turn it into a way for a young child to dabble in journaling and self expression and you've got a marvelous tool for teaching and life experience.

    My oldest son (turning 9) has autism. He loves the Wimpy Kid series and I'm guessing it's because of the reasons described above. The Do-It-Yourself version has sparked his interest in self expression and given him tools to help develop his skills in written expression. The check lists, fill in the blanks, fill in the bubble comics make it fun and provide a structure in an area that is difficult for him. The blank journal at the back gives him space to dabble in writing whatever he feels. It's personalized and fun AND a great educational experience. I highly recommend this series and if your child takes to the series, get them this Do-It-Yourself kit. ... Read more

    9. Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)
    by Suzanne Collins
    Hardcover (2010-08-24)
    list price: $17.99 -- our price: $7.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0439023513
    Publisher: Scholastic Press
    Sales Rank: 42
    Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Direction, but Perfection
    This was a brilliant conclusion to the trilogy. I can only compare it to "Ender's Game" - and that is extremely high praise, indeed.

    When I first closed the book last night, I felt shattered, empty, and drained.

    And that was the point, I think. I'm glad I waited to review the book because I'm not sure what my review would have been.

    For the first two books, I think most of us readers have all been laboring under the assumption that Katniss Everdeen would eventually choose one of the two terrific men in her life: Gale, her childhood companion or Peeta, the one who accompanied her to the Hunger Games twice. She'd pick one of them and live happily ever after with him, surrounded by friends and family. Somehow, along the way, Katniss would get rid of the awful President Snow and stop the evil Hunger Games. How one teenage girl would do all that, we weren't too sure, but we all had faith and hope that she would.

    "Mockingjay" relentlessly strips aside those feelings of faith and hope - much as District 13 must have done to Katniss. Katniss realizes that she is just as much a pawn for District 13 as she ever was for the Colony and that evil can exist in places outside of the Colony.

    And that's when the reader realizes that this will be a very different journey. And that maybe the first two books were a setup for a very different ride. That, at its heart, this wasn't a story about Katniss making her romantic decisions set against a backdrop of war.

    This is a story of war. And what it means to be a volunteer and yet still be a pawn. We have an entirely volunteer military now that is spread entirely too thin for the tasks we ask of it. The burden we place upon it is great. And at the end of the day, when the personal war is over for each of them, each is left alone to pick up the pieces as best he/she can.

    For some, like Peeta, it means hanging onto the back of a chair until the voices in his head stop and he's safe to be around again. Each copes in the best way he can. We ask - no, demand - incredible things of our men and women in arms, and then relegate them to the sidelines afterwards because we don't want to be reminded of the things they did in battle. What do you do with people who are trained to kill when they come back home? And what if there's no real home to come back to - if, heaven forbid, the war is fought in your own home? We need our soldiers when we need them, but they make us uncomfortable when the fighting stops.

    All of that is bigger than a love story - than Peeta or Gale. And yet, Katniss' war does come to an end. And she does have to pick up the pieces of her life and figure out where to go at the end. So she does make a choice. But compared to the tragedy of everything that comes before it, it doesn't seem "enough". And I think that's the point. That once you've been to hell and lost so much, your life will never be the same. Katniss will never be the same. For a large part of this book, we see Katniss acting in a way that we can only see as being combat-stress or PTSD-related - running and hiding in closets. This isn't our Katniss, this isn't our warrior girl.

    But this is what makes it so much more realistic, I think. Some may see this as a failing in plot - that Katniss is suddenly acting out of character. But as someone who has been around very strong soldiers returning home from deployments, this story, more than the other two, made Katniss come alive for me in a much more believable way.

    I realize many out there will hate the epilogue and find it trite. At first, I did too. But in retrospect, it really was perfect. Katniss gave her life already - back when she volunteered for Prim in "The Hunger Games". It's just that she actually physically kept living.

    The HBO miniseries, "Band of Brothers", has a quote that sums this up perfectly. When Captain Spiers says, "The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you're already dead. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you'll be able to function as a soldier is supposed to function: without mercy, without compassion, without remorse. All war depends upon it."

    But how do you go from that, to living again in society? You really don't. So I'm not sure Katniss ever really did - live again. She just ... kept going. And there's not really much to celebrate in that. Seeing someone keep going, despite being asked - no, demanded - to do unconscionably horrifying things, and then being relegated to the fringes of society, and then to keep going - to pick up the pieces and keep on going, there is something fine and admirable and infinitely sad and pure and noble about that. But the fact is, it should never happen in the first place.

    And that was the point, I think. ... Read more

    10. Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
    by Barack Obama
    Hardcover (2010-11-16)
    list price: $17.99 -- our price: $8.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 037583527X
    Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
    Sales Rank: 32
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    In this tender, beautiful letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America's children.

    Breathtaking, evocative illustrations by award-winning artist Loren Long at once capture the personalities and achievements of these great Americans and the innocence and promise of childhood.

    This beautiful book celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans, from our nation's founders to generations to come. It is about the potential within each of us to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths. It is a treasure to cherish with your family forever.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, November 16, 2010

    Aimed at young children, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters offers brief glimpses of how the contributions of a single person can touch lives, inspire others and sometimes, change the course of history. Written before he became president, Obama here chooses a baker's dozen Americans to illustrate traits such as courage, creativity and intelligence that he sees in his daughters and encourages young people to find and develop in themselves. Those chosen - including George Washington, Jackie Robinson, Billie Holliday, Cesar Chavez, Helen Keller & Sitting Bull - capture ethnic diversity and include a good balance of men and women.

    While the text is sparse, the President has a nice turn of phrase and the accompanying artwork by Loren Long is simply wonderful. Best of all, though, is the subject, which offers a great jumping off point for parents to talk to their children, not only about the people profiled, but of their own talents and opportunities and of the importance of contributing to society.

    I have something of a love affair with cover art and I just want to note that the cover of this book really appeals to me. The image of two young girls (Sasha and Malia Obama with their dog, Bo, but representative of all children) marching along with a spring in their step beautifully conveys an air of optimism and confidence - two things I long to see in all children and that our country could use more of at this time.

    Highly recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Get it just for the illustrations..., November 18, 2010
    All politics aside, this really is a beautiful book with a wonderful message. I hope that people who dislike President Obama's choices in office will not cast aside this book without taking a look first. The pictures are absolutely incredible, and I will definitely be checking out more books that Loren Long has illustrated. I agree with some of the other reviewers that some of the examples of great Americans seem a little odd, but I appreciate the sentiments behind all of them, and I think this book could inspire young readers to learn more about some of these people. I like that there is a short bio of each person in the back of the book, as I did not know who Jane Addams was. It is obvious that the book is trying to appeal to a wide range of people, and I think this is as it should be...the core message of the book is that our country is made up of all types of people and that we all bring different talents and ideas to the table. Some of the writing is really beautiful, but some of it does seem a little stilted, and some of the word choices make me wonder what age group this book was really written for.

    I hope that everyone will note that President Obama wrote this book before he was in office and that 100% of the profits are being donated to a charity for the children of disabled veterans. I think it is a hard heart indeed that could not agree that this is a beautiful book being sold for a good cause.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Have I told you?" Beautiful for his daughters and for charity!, November 16, 2010
    This letter to the Obama daughters is inspiring for children and adults alike. This children's book is uplifting and unexpectedly informational while paying homage to thirteen icons that helped change and shape this country. The introduction to each great American visionary starts with seemingly simple words, "Have I told you. . . ?". This book is beyond creative, full of love, and well rounded. Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters is diverse, promotes equality, and without a doubt has the power to inspire every person with the snippets of courageous, patriotic, and brilliant Americans.

    Award-winning Loren Long did an amazing job illustrating President Barack Obama's meaningful words. His artwork is simply sensational, and begins with Malia and Sasha standing by themselves when their father first asks, "Have I told you?". As Barack Obama teaches his daughters of a these amazing Americans, the visuals quickly turn into the girls standing with children that reflect the strengths of the American figures previously mentioned. The illustration concept is not only heartwarming but genius, and I found myself excited to view the upcoming pages.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Have I told you...?, November 17, 2010
    No matter what your age, this book is simply lovely. It celebrates the potential in our children, the seeds of greatness we must nurture. The illustrations are simple and beautiful, enhancing the poetry and meaning of the text. (The illustrator is Loren Long.) The girls, clearly meant to represent Sasha and Malia, are told about the qualities they possess and then told about someone who exemplifies that quality -- that person as a child is then shown to be standing next to the girls until there's a crowd of children standing together.

    At the back of the book is a little more about each person represented in the book so that, hopefully, an interest in learning even more might be fostered.

    The people represented are:

    Georgia O'Keefe
    Albert Einstein
    Jackie Robinson
    Sitting Bull
    Billie Holiday
    Helen Keller
    Maya Lin
    Jane Addams
    Dr. Martin Luther King
    Neil Armstrong
    Cesar Chavez
    Abraham Lincoln
    & George Washington

    The attributes honored include kindness, bravery, persistence, patriotism, honoring the sacrifices of others, and creativity.

    Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?
    How the sound of your feet
    running from afar
    brings dancing rhythms to my day?
    How you laugh
    and sunshine spills into the room?

    5 stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Heartwarming, November 18, 2010
    Barack Obama has paid a wonderful tribute to America's diversity through the lives of thirteen exceptional individuals and how their contributions have ultimately enriched America. Obama is apparently writing to his own daughters but his words mirror the feelings of countless parents like me who share the same ideals; differences in America are valued and accepted and they add value to the rich tapestry of American life. The thirteen individuals mentioned here come from diverse backgrounds, yet they all aspired for the same goal -excellence. In the process of realizing their true potential, they have fulfilled the American Dream guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence. The inalienable rights of `Life, Liberty, and Pursuit oh Happiness' are for all to pursue, regardless of individual differences and backgrounds.

    Obama ends this tribute with a message to his daughters that `they are all a part of you'. How beautiful and inspiring ! I hope it resonates with the readers and they cherish this valuable insight.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful words..beautiful illustrations, November 21, 2010
    I'll keep it simple: this is a beautiful work...and like many children's books, a wonderful book for adults, as well.

    It is a welcome relief from the crazy, hate-filled politics of the day, which provides such ugly, uncivic lessons to our children, with adults behaving like vipers.

    Thank you, President Obama.

    5-0 out of 5 stars this book helps the fallen servicemen families, November 28, 2010
    I ordered a few copies to give as gifts for the children in our family for Christmas. Not only its good informative history, all the proceeds will go toward fallen US military service men and women, to provide for their children's education.
    Its for a tremendous great cause, so put all politics aside and support our troops on this.
    President Obama wrote this book prior to being President.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for every child & the child in all of us!, November 16, 2010
    Buy it for the artwork, read it for the message, enjoy it for what is is: An inspirational story from a loving father to his beautiful daughters. Please don't politicize this book or its intent, otherwise you'll miss out on an uplifting story that can teach us all some valuable life lessons. I dare you to read it and not be inspired.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT POSITVE, November 26, 2010
    I think its a great lesson, for kids and adults. easy reading, and very positive. a fathers prospective too, its written like a letter. and a good read for children. ITS so Obama. a uniter. I love it. Jane

    5-0 out of 5 stars Proud to be an American, November 26, 2010
    What a lovely book! I don't care what your politics are, this is a wonderful reminder to all of us, of all ages, that we live in the greatest country. I bought this for myself (I'm 48) because I love the message and the illustrations are breathtaking. The one of the Vietnam Veterans wall gave me chills. I also plan on giving this as a gift to my niece and nephew. Thank you, President Obama, for the reminder. ... Read more

    11. Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset
    by Suzanne Collins
    Hardcover (2010-08-24)
    list price: $53.97 -- our price: $27.92
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0545265355
    Publisher: Scholastic Press
    Sales Rank: 26
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The extraordinary, ground breaking New York Times bestsellers The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, along with the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay, are available for the first time ever in a beautiful boxset edition. Stunning, gripping, and powerful. The trilogy is now complete!

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A True Classic, August 24, 2010

    Because I was such a fan of Suzanne Collins' The Underland Chronicles (also known as the Gregor the Overlander series), I picked up The Hunger Games the first week it was out and I feel privileged in a way to not only have read this series as it unfolded, but to have witnessed its climb in popularity over the last 2 years. That popularity is richly deserved.

    Collins is both a talented writer and a gifted storyteller, two things that do not always go hand in hand. In The Hunger Games trilogy, she has created characters that will stay with me and has given them a hard and difficult story that will haunt me. She also managed to keep the quality of the series high throughout which is not always the case with a book series.

    At the conclusion of book three - Mockingjay - Collins hasn't wrapped everything up in a neat little bow and slapped a happy face sticker on the bow's ribbon ends nor, IMHO, should she have done so. Instead, Collins provides a conclusion that suits the story, that left room for my internal `if-onlys', `what-ifs', `I-wonders' and `but-what-abouts', but that I also found satisfying.

    I consider The Hunger Games trilogy to be a great accomplishment for Collins and a true classic for both teen and adult readers of both sexes. I'm very pleased to give it a permanent place on my-favorite-books-of-all-time shelf where, coincidentally, it will sit right alongside The Underland Chronicles.

    Very, very highly recommended.

    Note: Prices will vary, but you may want to price the books out to see if you'll get a better deal buying them separately. As I write this, you will, so if you're not really committed to the box... :-)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An haunting series that will stick with you long after the last page is turned, August 27, 2010
    The Hunger Games (Trilogy) is one of the most "unputdownable" books to enter the teen market in a long time. The cliffhangers at the end of each volume are so intense, you can't help but continue on. Knowing this in advance, I decided against reading the series last summer despite the fact that everyone was talking about it. I waited the extra year, and I'm glad I did--even a week was torture when it came to getting my grubby mitts on a copy of Mockingjay.

    For the record, this isn't a series for everyone. You will be drained emotionally by its end. The Hunger Games is one of the grimmest dystopian worlds I've encountered in literature. A lot of characters die, and their deaths aren't pleasant. This series may not be for you. Then again, those who know me well would say it's not for me, either. I'm one of the most squeamish people you'll meet, and The Hunger Games more closesly resembles the movie Battle Royale than I thought it would when I started reading. I really enjoyed the series, though. There are scenes so poignant, they'll stick with me. Between this and Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, I've found that even squeamish ole me can still enjoy a disturbing book if it's thought-provoking and well-written.

    Now that I've warned you about the contents, let's move on to the meat of this review. It's hard to go in-depth without giving a lot away, so I decided to focus on the trilogy as a whole instead of singling out Mockingjay and reviewing it on its own (though I do have a paragraph dedicated to it further down). A brief synopsis for the uninitiated:
    The trilogy takes place in the future. The USA has been destroyed; in its place is Panem, which consists of thirteen districts and a Capitol city. Before the series begins, the districts revolt against the Capitol and are defeated; the thirteenth is completely obliterated. As retribution for their crimes, each district is now required to send a boy and girl, called tributes, to participate in the annual Hunger Games. The games are centered around survival; there can only be one winner (Luckily, most of the deaths occur off-page, so it makes it easier for the squeamish to read). The characters are very rich and detailed; some of their deaths hit incredibly hard and are forever memorable. In the second book, Catching Fire, there is a lot of unease in the districts, and a lot of anger when the year's Hunger Games take a twisted turn and past winners are forced to battle it out for survival. The final book, Mockingjay, consists of a full out rebellion; the districts are at war with the Capitol and it's do or die in a showdown so explosive, readers never see it coming.

    Mockingjay has already received flack for not going in the direction fans anticipated. Most were caught up in a romantic triangle and hoped the final book would have a heavy emphasis on this theme with war as a backdrop and a happily-ever-after on the horizon. At the same time, Suzanne Collins has been setting up the revolution since Day One; the grim nature of the first two books should lead readers to believe that the finale will continue in a similar vein. Yes, people will die and it won't always be fair. That's life. I think the direction of Mockingjay was natural, especially in war-like situations. Characters will not be the same as they were earlier in life; war changes you. I would have been disappointed if Collins sidestepped harsh realities in order to soften the story. The tale she weaves is extreme, but it's also genuine. To me, by sticking to her guns and not copping out for something friendlier, she has created a memorable, haunting series that will stick with you long after you've finished reading it.

    I'd also like to bring attention to the amazing book jacket art put together by designer Elizabeth B. Parisi and artist Tim O'Brien. At first glance, they don't mean much, but once you've read the serious, you notice just how ingenious they truly are. Before I read the series, I looked at the preview of the Mockingjay jacket and thought, "Wow, that's bright compared to the first two." Now I know better. Each book features a mockingjay, which is a hybrid mix of mockingbird and jabberjay (a Capitol creation used for spying on enemies during the first rebellion). The first book features the bird as the pin the main character, Katsa's, friend gives to her. The book is black and grim, giving it a desolate air. Every character in the Games feels hopeless, as though he/she won't survive. The second book's mockingbird is trapped inside a clock-like environment, which is the setting of the Hunger Games in this volume. The book is red for fire (both for its title, Catching Fire, and the literal associations with the element in the book), for anger (the fact that previous survivors of the Hunger Games must participate once more), and for bloodshed. Both books feature these circular objects that link to one another representing the way the districts and Capitol are linked. The final book features a mockingjay with its wings spread out. The linked circles are in broken pieces around it. The book is a vivid sky blue, the color of peace and hope. These covers have become favorites of mine; I adore the symbolism.

    All in all, I'm personally glad I've read this series and wouldn't change a thing. I'm glad I didn't sidestep it due to its violent nature and extreme situations. This trilogy is one I'll read again to delve into the intricate layers I know Collins has laid out for us. Collins is a master at capturing a society at war and showing the horrors that come when a corrupt government is in control.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The books are 5+, wish the gift boxset had a little more., August 25, 2010
    No doubt if you're looking at this product, you already know The Hungry Games Trilogy are all great books!

    In my mind, there's really only a few reasons for a "boxset" to exist: 1) To give as a a better looking gift than three separate books to someone who somehow missed the phenomenon along the way or is missing some of the collection. 2) Because they include something special w/ the set that makes it more meaningful, or 3) Because it's cheaper to buy them as a set.

    In this case, this set is only your best choice if you want to give the set as a gift. I wish they'd included something special that made it more worthwhile than a cardboard container to hold them. I don't think it would have hurt to add in a mockingjay pin and an exclusive map or poster - since the set costs more than the individual books combined. (Or did, the day I was writing this.) Who knows? Maybe they will come up with a more special set after the third books been out a bit longer.

    Still, there's plenty of avid teen readers that are just now getting to the age to begin enjoying these tales, and a set of the books would definitely make a great gift for them boxed or unboxed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read for all ages!, October 2, 2010
    This compelling trilogy examines the brutality of war and the desensitization of a media-saturated society. Katniss is a strong and thoughtful young heroine, and readers will be haunted by her long after the final chapter of Mockingjay. In Hunger Games you will be introduced to the characters and their trials will keep you on the edge of your seat. In Catching Fire you will find out that no one is safe from the clutches of the Capitol. In Mockingjay you will feel the stirrings of revolution, and the dread that comes along with leaving relative safety for the unknown. These books are terrific for a book club, or for kids to read with their parents.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Deal I Could Find, November 23, 2010
    This was the best deal I could find. And it literally knocked all the other deals out of the water. All the books come with a hard cover. And I really enjoyed reading the series! ... Read more

    12. The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook Presents: A Magical Christmas Menu Sample
    by Dinah Bucholz
    Kindle Edition (2010-12-08)
    list price: $1.00
    Asin: B004G8PR1E
    Publisher: Adams Media
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Free eBook Download!Sure, you can't be in Hogwarts Hall for the Christmas feast, but you can add some wizadry to your own holiday meal with this free e-book! The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook Presents: A Magical Christmas Menu includes 16 recipes guaranteed to enchant your friends and family this holiday season. From mouth-watering appetizers to decadent desserts and a steaming cup of Mrs. Weasley's Hot Chocolate, this season you can conjure a feast that would satisfy even Hagrid's hearty appetite!

    Looking to celebrate the tastes of this magical world all-year round? Then check out the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook eBook and Print editions! ... Read more


    4-0 out of 5 stars Only a sample, December 15, 2010
    The prior reviewer is correct. This is only a sample (fewer than 400 locations on Kindle) with about 12-15 recipes. None of the recipes had anything in particular to do with the Harry Potter world. The author did put a few sentences at the beginning of each recipe in an attempt to tie it in to the HP world, but the recipes themselves were 100% mundane (mashed potatoes? roast turkey? gravy? cranberry sauce?) and could be found in any decent cookbook. In order to get the recipes for the HP-themed foods, you will need to purchase the full cookbook - which is not free. I was very disappointed, and felt that the title/description was misleading. I will not be purchasing the full cookbook.

    12/16/10 - Edited to add - there is a disclaiimer up now indicating that this is just a Christmas menu sample. There was no disclaimer when I ordered the book. However, I'm letting my review stand because there's no need to order anything HP-related to get the recipes that are on this menu.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Recipies, Not Quite the Full Version, December 15, 2010
    This is an excellent book- well written. It has just a basic set of recipies for Christmas or thereabouts. Overall, this free Kindle version has about 15 recipies just for Christmastime, and I'm assuming the full version has several more selections. In keeping with the Harry Potter theme, the author has given us a great background to why each food item was included in the book in relation to the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling. I recommend this free Kindle version for the Christmas season and Harry Potter fans. I'm planning on buying the full version soon.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Nice collection of holiday recipes, December 19, 2010
    As a short collection of recipes perfect the holidays and a sample of the cookbook, this is nice. The 16 recipes include a main course (turkey), several side dishes and a few desserts. The author includes a bit of background on each recipe as well how it fits in the Harry Potter world.
    The recipes are good ones to do with teens and pre-teens who enjoy cooking and like Harry Potter. They are well-explained and teach real cooking skills as well as a bit of history. ... Read more

    13. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw
    by Jeff Kinney
    Hardcover (2009-01-01)
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $6.58
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0810970686
    Publisher: Amulet Books
    Sales Rank: 55
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The highly anticipated third book in the critically acclaimed and bestselling series takes the art of being wimpy to a whole new level.


    Let’s face it: Greg Heffley will never change his wimpy ways. Somebody just needs to explain that to Greg’s father. You see, Frank Heffley actually thinks he can get his son to toughen up, and he enlists Greg in organized sports and other “manly” endeavors. Of course, Greg is able to easily sidestep his father’s efforts to change him. But when Greg’s dad threatens to send him to military academy, Greg realizes he has to shape up . . . or get shipped out.


    Greg and his family and friends, who make the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books a must-read for middle school readers, are back and at their best in this hilarious new installment of the series, which is sure to please current fans while attracting new ones.


    Publishers Weekly-1/19/2009:

    The third book in this genre-busting series is certain to enlarge Kinney’s presence on the bestseller lists, where the previous titles have taken up residence for the past two years. Kinney’s spot-on humor and winning formula of deadpan text set against cartoons are back in full force. This time, Greg starts off on New Year’s Day (he resolves to “help other people improve,” telling his mother, “I think you should work on chewing your potato chips more quietly”) and ends with summer vacation. As he fends off his father’s attempts to make him more of a man (the threat of military school looms), Greg’s hapless adventures include handing out anonymous valentines expressing his true feelings (“Dear James, You smell”), attempting to impress his classmate Holly and single-handedly wrecking his soccer team’s perfect season. Kinney allows himself some insider humor as well, with Greg noting the “racket” children’s book authors have going. “All you have to do is make up a character with a snappy name, and then make sure the character learns a lesson at the end of the book.” Greg, self-centered as ever, may be the exception proving that rule. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)
    F&P level: T
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Jeff Kinney Doesn't Wimp Out with Diary 3, January 13, 2009
    Fantastic - as much fun as the first three. I was a real-life wimpy kid and I did end up at West Point so this installment was even more fun for me. My daughter loves this series. Jeff Kinney delivers again - the "Diary" is so funny and fast-paced that even "reading wimps" can't put the book down. The format of fun cartoon drawings and true-to-life stories that kids & adults alike can relate to make this a must-buy for your young reader. (Or adults that didn't totally grow up)

    5-0 out of 5 stars My Sides Hurt and Water Came Out of My Eyes, January 16, 2009
    This is an amazingly funny book. The Wimpy Kid series should not be confined to people under 18 so I highly urge adults to read all three as soon as possible. My sides hurt and yes, my eyes watered. The book is so funny and each one is better than the last which means The Last Straw is the funniest so far. The author has a knack of mentioning things that kids and kids who have gotten older can all identify with. It's great. My favorite scene in this book was the gym class in which middle school students are urged by their gym teacher and other teachers to dance the Hokey Pokey! What a nightmare! What fun! Rowley is the sad sack friend who is embarrassing to be with and makes a great stooge for our hero. Mom is supposedly "hip" and so uncool that she needs to be kept in the house and not let out for activities that involve being "with it". Dad can't stay on a diet and Greg's New Year's Resolution is telling everybody else what's wrong with them! Just a wonderful book and I think that we will see more of them. This is truly a classic series and too good just to be isolated in the kids' section. Adults get your "Young Adult" reading done now! My excuse? I teach middle school.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My son loved it....of course!, January 14, 2009
    My 10 yr old son just loves these books. Yesterday was his birthday and what a great gift. I even braved white-out blizzard conditions just to make sure he could have it. He just cracks up when he reads these and has me stopping what I'm doing so I can laugh with him. We are both huge fans and hope to see more in the series.....keep 'em coming please!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kinny doesnt "wimp" out, January 18, 2009
    i purchased diary of a wimpy kid once again after my son Loved the first 2 books. he is not an everyday reader but when it comes to these series, he Loves reading. He laughs out loud all day. i myself also read one of the books and it was great. not only was it good for my son, it was good for me too.Also it was delivered 4 days earlier than the due date so i was very happy.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Kids love this series!, August 28, 2009
    Parent Review:

    Diary of a Wimpy kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney is the 3rd book in the series Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I've read all of the books in the series now. To be honest, I understand why kids are drawn to them but as an adult reading them all back to back they got a bit old. As I've shared in my reviews of the other books in the series, this is one of my son's favorite book series. My son who is 10, was so happy that I read the first book and when I finished it, he lined up book 2 and 3 in the series on my nightstand. It was nice to know what he was reading and talk about the books with him.

    This book, continues the story of Gregory, a middle schooler who started writing a diary one summer when his mother bought him one. He's continued writing his stories and complementing them with comics. The comics definitely add a lighter, fun feel to the book and kids seem to love this part. Gregory continues to get himself into embarrassing situations and learns lessons the hard way. This book starts off on New Year's Day where he tries to help other people improve and then it ends at the start of summer vacation. His father seems to be a bit disappointed in his son's and the antics they get into. He decides that they need to learn how to be "men" and threatens to send Gregory to military school. Gregory ends up doing all he can to "bond" with his father and of course, ends up in many precarious situations and not at all what he intended in the first place. The book also details ways that Greg tries to get along with his brothers, his attempts to impress a girl named Holly in his class, and how Greg attempts to get through being placed on a soccer team he doesn't like. It's obvious in the book that Greg is doing all he can as a kid to get through life. He tends to be self centered and socially awkward and kids can definitely relate to that as well as the theme that grown ups really don't get it. I think that is a universal rule in childhood...Kids don't think that their parents or any grown ups "get it"!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Five star comedy, if not five-star literature...., January 14, 2009
    If you are 9 to 12 years old, you will think this book is laugh-out-loud funny. Our family has enjoyed the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and today the arrival of the third volume was greeted with high-pitched screaming when the package landed on our doorstep. Four hours later the book had been devoured by two family members.

    Jeff Kinney didn't write these books just for kids, so they are actually quite funny for everyone to read. The comics remind me a bit of Matt Groening of Life In Hell and The Simpsons fame, but pitched firmly at a middle grade level.

    For any of us who were once or future awkward, clueless middle schoolers (and really, isn't that all of us?), Greg Heffley is a convincing hero/anti-hero. It's time to grow up but Greg hasn't figured that out yet, and he takes "wimpy" to new heights as he flunks out of soccer, watches one channel of TV all day because he's too lazy to even pick up the remote, and ends up locked out of a hotel room in his underwear during a camping trip gone awry.

    When he finally saves the day, will it involve his Mom's fluffy bathrobe? Greg's mortal terror of children's poet Shel Silverstein? Or Greg's Wonder Woman Underoos? Read it to find out! (Bonus: With Greg's lack of self-awareness, he hilariously illustrates the concept of an "unreliable narrator.")

    5-0 out of 5 stars Jeff Kinney scores big, again! Hysterical! Same strong, honest voice!, January 13, 2009
    Jeff Kinney scores big, again!

    Kids, teachers, and parents alike have all been anxiously awaiting the third installment of the Wimpy Kid series. If you were worried the third book of Greg Heffley and his wimpy ways would be watered down, worry no more. In DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LAST STRAW, Kinney maintains his fresh, unique humor that easily connects with adolescents or anyone who still remembers his or her adolescence.

    As a sports enthusiast, I particularly loved how Greg's father Frank thought getting Greg active in sports would toughen him up. The sports world creates a number of interesting settings and story lines for Greg's awkwardness to shine.

    Anybody ever been affected by the threat of military school? Well, you will relate to the fear that Greg must endure.

    This book follows the same successful formula you loved in the other books (It is not like the Do-It-Yourself book) and you will have plenty to laugh about and discuss with other Wimpy Kid readers.

    Enjoy. I sure did.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "I'm Already The Best Person I Know.", January 15, 2009
    Greg Heffley, star of the Wimpy Kid books, is back in his third outing and he's brought a super-sized bag full of giggles and belly laughs with him. Just like the previous two books, he's not taking prisoners. He attacks readers, kids and adults, with commonsensical and unadulterated observations on how the world should work from a kid's point of view.

    Jeff Kinney, the author and illustrator of the series, still hasn't given up his day job as a computer game designer despite the fact that all three of his books have ended up on the New York Times bestseller list. I've read interviews with him and he talks about how much he loves the job. But thankfully he also enjoys writing about the times and troubles of Greg Heffley.

    Much of today's 9 to 12 year old fiction centers around fantasy and magic. I enjoy a lot of those stories as well. Most kids do. But the grandest fantasy of all for a kid, and maybe for some of us who've never grown up, is our own lives. Kinney really understands that and presents Greg's story with honesty and a real imagining of the world.

    You don't find magical weapons or quests in the Wimpy Kid books. Well, unless of course Greg happens to be playing a role playing game with his friends (and sometimes his mom, a story you'll find in the second book). What you do get is a wonderful look into a kid's world that young readers will instantly recognize as their own and older readers will remember going through.

    The books don't really have plots. They meander through things and Kinney manages to link threads of stories, making gags play over and over again by raising the stakes or giving them subtle and sneaky twists. Greg's perception of self and his place in the world is amazingly dead on. Not only that, but the author hangs out his own dirty laundry (literally, when Greg goes to school and a pair of dirty underwear with his name on it falls out of his pants leg because he's too lazy to do his own laundry) on the pages.

    My eleven year old, who discovered the books first, got dibs on reading the book. He was home sick for the day and I took him with me to get my weekly allergy shot. I knew the book was out, had to have it, and picked it up at a local bookstore. I also picked one up for my wife's coworker's daughter. I had to share the goodness.

    Chandler started and finished the book on Tuesday, then went back and reread his favorite parts. Several times during both readings he would come get me and share something that was going on. Normally that would irritate me to a degree. I like to read books on my own, without previews. But the Wimpy Kid books can be read again and again. They're even better when you share them with other people. We've also been calling each other PLOOPY for the last couple of days. You'll have to read the book to understand that reference.

    One of the themes that Kinney returns to again and again in the book is the relationship between fathers and sons. As a father of four sons myself, I know there can be a lot of misunderstandings and disappointments. On both sides. But this book, and I don't know if Kinney intended it on purpose, presents a great argument for both sides--as well as a chance to get to understand each other. Sons need to know that their fathers were once upon a time boys like themselves, and fathers need to remember what it's like to be a boy. Boys don't really know how everything works or why everything's not about them or how they're supposed to fit in the world. And fathers...well, actually I guess that doesn't change much. Kinney provides enlightenment and reminder in one great and funny package.

    The trick that the author manages to pull off so well is the presentation of serious material in a slapstick environment. People just reading the books for humor will get that, but Kinney writes so honestly that readers can't help noticing how much real life is packed into the pages.

    I loved Greg's plan to learn to become a jumping king by digging a hole three inches deep in his backyard then jumping out of it a hundred times. The next day he would dig the hole twice as deep and jump out of it a hundred times again. By the end of the fifth day, he hoped to be jumping like a kangaroo. Of course, any adult would realize this was ridiculous, but it only takes a father about five seconds and a good dose of honesty to realize that at Greg's age he would have believed the same thing.

    My wife is fourth grade teacher. She was out of town on Wednesday, but when Chandler and I talked to her, we told her about getting the new Wimpy Kid book. She was appreciative of my getting a book for her coworker's daughter, but she also asked me why I didn't pick up a copy for her class. At the time, I didn't think about it because my son and I were so involved flipping through the pages. So that went on my To-do List. Her class loves these books as well and they're always gone from her classroom library.

    I also told my allergy nurse about them. She has a six year old who is an aggressive reader and likes to draw. Chandler and I even showed her our copy of the book. She was going to pick them up on her way home.

    I tell everybody with kids about these books. They're written in a journal format, complete with lined pages. The art doodles are fantastic, simple and compelling. They're also easy enough that they can inspire the budding artist in every young kid. Young writers and artists both get a good role model to follow in these books while trying to express their own talents.

    The beauty of these books is that you don't have to read them in any particular order. You can pick up any one on an impulse buy and rest assured that you or your child will enjoy it. The first two are out in paperback, but I'd really recommend picking the books up in hardcover. These are books that will sit on your shelves for a long time and will be constantly reread. They're excellent gifts to give to other children or grandchildren.

    One thing that my son noticed that I didn't is the fact that the books each cover a season. The first book centered on Greg going back to school for the new year. The second book led up to Christmas. And the third book covers from New Year's to the end of the school semester.

    Kinney is contracted for at least five of the books. That leaves two more to come, but in a recent interview he stated that he may do as many as seven of the books. I hope so because I'll be sad to see the Wimpy Kid grow up and no longer share his adventures with us.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My son's review of DOAWKTLS, January 15, 2009
    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last StrawThe first 4 pages are funnier than the whole 1st book. I give it 5 stars. And -- "Does my scab smell funny?"

    5-0 out of 5 stars My kids love Wimpy, September 2, 2009
    I have purchased several copies of all of the Wimpie Diaries for my grandchildren, little friends, library fundraisers, etc. These books are GREAT, children WANT to READ them. As a read-aholic I firmly believe that children should own their favorite books for a lifetime. The Wimpie Diaries are imaginative, entertaining, and kids love to read them. What a great idea, kids reading. ... Read more

    14. The Hunger Games
    by Suzanne Collins
    Kindle Edition (2009-09-01)
    list price: $14.99
    Asin: B002MQYOFW
    Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
    Sales Rank: 24
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. Acclaimed writer Suzanne Collins, author of the New York Times bestselling The Underland Chronicles, delivers equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging. Brutal, but engaging!

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Wow. I was barely able to put this book down for a second after the first few pages got me completely hooked. Suzanne Collins narrative here has an immediacy to it that, when combined with the very dramatic life-or-death plot, is incredibly compelling. It's entertaining, and incredibly disturbing all at once. If this was merely a good read, I would have given it 4 stars, but they say great art leaves you changed after you experience it... and this book definitely did that. Suzanne Collins has, with one amazing work, propelled herself onto my top shelf.

    Parents, caveat emptor! The storyline is brutal. Even though the writing is geared for young adults, the main characters are teenagers, there's very little physical romance, and the actual violence would probably count as PG-13 nowadays... it's probably one of the most terrifying books I've read in a very long time! Right up there with George R.R. Martin, if not more so. Remember what we learned from Jaws: you don't actually need to SEE the shark in order for it to be terrifying. Sometimes not seeing the shark is even worse.

    The story is basically about a teenager who is forced to compete in a 24-man-enter-1-man-leaves event. I don't want to spoil it by saying any more, but if you liked The Running Man, you'll definitely like this. And if you're young enough that you don't remember The Running Man, nor did you get the Thunderdome reference, then I'm just way too old. But take an old fogey's advice and read this book.

    Amazon, when can I preorder book 2???

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Hunger Games - Definitely worth reading!

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    It took me a while to get to this book because I never saw it out of my two daughters' hands. They devoured it! Once I read it, I understood. This is the second book I have reviewed this month that had a powerful female protagonist (other being 'Graceling').

    I found the book to be well written with a fantastic pacing. Their is violence in there, but not so over the top as to be distracting. Intimate scenes are sparingly written so as not to be too embarassing (something I greatly appreciated as a dad!!) The rage against the system theme is prevalent enough to notice, but not as overbearing as say.... Ayn Rand or Terry Pratchett.

    All in all, I highly recommend this book for kids from 12 up. The ending leads me to believe that this will be a series. I imagine I will be pre-ordering as soon as it's available. Congratulation Ms. Collins!!

    All the best,


    5-0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down.
    The 74th Annual Hunger Games are soon to begin. The Hunger Games are a fight to the death. In the new country of Panem, in the ruins of North America, each year as punishment for a rebellion and as a control mechanism, the Capitol forces each of the 12 provinces to draw names of a male and female tribute. The tributes are drawn from all people between the ages of 12 and 18. They receive training, are assessed by the game masters and then the betting begins. The games will be televised and are required viewing for the whole nation.

    The draws are not exactly even though. You can choose to enter your name extra times, for yourself and for family members to receive a terse, a grain and oil supplement from the government. Thus enters our heroine Katniss Everdeen. She is entered this year 20 times as she is 16 and taken the terse every year, for herself, her sister and her mother. Her close friend Gale has his name in 42 times, but this is the last year he is eligible. Then Katniss has the worst fear hit - her younger sister Prim (short for Primrose) is drawn with her 1st and only ballot. Katniss then does the unthinkable; she volunteers to take Prim's place.

    Katniss Everdeen knows that she has at least some chance of survival in the games. She has been secretly hunting in the woods and feeding her family since her father died years earlier. She hunts and gathers what she can with her friend and hunting partner Gale, in the woods beyond the fenced border of District 12. Yet even so, most believe she has just given up her life for her sisters.

    Katniss and Peeta Mellark are the tributes from District 12 for the 74th annual hunger games. As they travel to the capitol they have two mentors - Haymitch Abernathy the only surviving Hunger Games winner from the district and Effie Trinket the Capitol's representative in the district. They will each in their own way try to help them to survive both the Capitol, to win favor with the citizens who can sponsor them in the games, and then the games themselves.

    This book is very well written, the scenes sharp and crisp, the world believable and detailed. The characters become real as you read. You reach the end and are left hungry for more, which is what you will get as this is book one in a trilogy. The only drawback in my opinion is the lack of a map. I keep hoping for a map of Panem, with the 12 districts, the mysterious destroyed 13th district and the wilderness area's between them. Maybe it is just a guy thing, but I wanted a map. In this book Twenty-four are forced to enter the game zone but only the winner survives. You get a sample online. You can read chapter 1 online but it will only whet your appetite for more. There is also a video trailer for the book you can find online. This is a great Sci-fi book and would make an excellent movie.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Chilling, Compelling, Best of 2008
    When Katniss Everdeen finds herself a contestant in the annual Hunger Games, she considers herself a goner. Out of 24 teenaged contestants chosen from the 12 districts of Panem, only 1 will emerge victorious. The rest will be slaughtered. By each other. And the entire event will be televised from the Capitol for the entire nation to watch.

    If you had described the basic plot of the Hunger Games to me and told me that it was going to be THE book to read in 2008, I probably would have raised an eyebrow. Futuristic? And dystopian? AND gladiatorial? Despite the seemingly disparate elements, Suzanne Collins somehow managed to hit upon the perfect combination in this thrilling story about a girl who lives in a nation obsessed with violence and reality television. There is action, romance, deception, humans hunting humans (Most Dangerous Game, anyone?) surgically altered stylists (reminiscent of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies), genetically enhanced mutants, a cruel totalitarian government, and a unspoken mandatory creed to treat the entire event as if it were a holiday.

    I read Hunger Games from start to finish in a day while I was supposed to be studying for finals. I meant to read a chapter or two and then go back to work, but I just could not put it down. Hunger Games is the kind of book that continues to haunt you days and weeks after you've turned the final page. I absolutely recommend it to everyone, with the one caveat that it does feature brutal violence between children and is perhaps not for the faint of heart. The next book can't come fast enough! In the mean time, I'm going to go learn how to shoot a bow, you never know when you're going to need to know how!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hungry for the next book!!
    I read this book upon the recommendation of Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series of books even though this isn't the kind of book I typically would seek out at the library. THANK YOU MS. MEYER! The Hunger Games had me engrossed from the first page. I was very intrigued with the characters, especially Katniss, however, the development of all the characters was impressive. The complexity of each character was described so well that there really weren't any that I didn't love and hate at the same time.

    The story itself is think that such a concept could be born and carried out is unsettling, but, unfortuantely believable. I'm not a person who likes blood and gore and this book is sometimes violent and gory, however, not to the point that I was too grossed out to read on. The romance added just enough additional struggle to keep me addicted.

    I would classify The Hunger Games writing as excellent. As you read you can easily visualize the characters and what's taking place. I am sooooo looking forward to the second book. ... Read more

    15. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)
    by Suzanne Collins
    Hardcover (2009-09-01)
    list price: $17.99 -- our price: $9.94
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0439023491
    Publisher: Scholastic Press
    Sales Rank: 60
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars And you thought the Capitol couldn't get any more twisted..., July 7, 2009
    If you thought the Capitol couldn't get any more twisted... you were wrong.

    The highly-anticipated sequel to The Hunger Games is the kind of novel that has you pulling back to take a breath and go, "How did the author think of this?" (if you can stop turning the pages long enough to breathe)

    Catching Fire picks up right where Hunger Games left off. Unrest in the Districts is growing at an alarming pace and Katniss unwittingly finds herself the figurehead for the movement against the Capitol. The characters you loved return for the sequel and the reader must endure each indignity the Capitol inflicts upon them. It is painful, tortuous, imaginative and motivating. It is everything The Hunger Games was and more. It both answers your lingering questions and creates so many new ones. It challenges you to think and creates such feelings of empathy for the characters that whenever I had to put the book down, I was genuinely worried for leaving the characters hanging and couldn't wait to pick it back up just so they could continue fighting for their lives and freedoms.

    Everything I loved about The Hunger Games is present in Catching Fire: the unique and engrossing storyline; characters so thoroughly and beautifully described they start to feel like friends; a fantastical setting that is both real and sad; and language that is easy to read and yet conveys such a profound meaning. It has action, romance, horror, hope, despair and, most of all, humanity. It has sci-fi and politics yet, unlike a lot of books on the market, they are not "in your face" and are completely approachable.

    Due to elements of violence and some light romantic scenes, I would recommend it for 13+. That being said, I would recommend it for ANYONE 13+ of any reading taste or background: as a bookseller and a recent library school graduate, these are the books I find easiest to recommend to anyone I meet.

    I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the third and final book to come out. After reading Catching Fire, I know you will be too.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Biggest Problem with Trilogies . . ., September 7, 2009
    . . . is that darn book in the middle! You know how it goes - the first book is dynamite, because it's all new and there's so much to discover. The last book is explosive too, since we find out what happens "in the end." But the book in the middle . . . well, it's sort of like treading water. It's a place holder, filler maybe, a way to stall the reader until the good stuff can start.

    Hunger Games was exiting and compelling; we found out about Katniss's world slowly, which drew us into it completely. My guess is, the final book will be equally engaging - after all, we'll learn all about District 13, we'll find out which of her two suitors Katniss will finally choose, and we'll get a glimpse of what lies in store for the Capitol and its totalitarian government. But Catching Fire is a disappointment. Nothing much happens. The plot can be summed up very succinctly - unrest grows slowly in the aftermath of Katniss and Peeta's Hunger Games victory. That's it. Katniss can't make her mind up about Peeta and Gale, she can't make her mind up about whether or not to rebel, and she can't make her mind up about who to really trust. In the end, not only is there no resolution, but little progress has been made toward one.

    The biggest problem with Catching Fire is its pacing. The first third of the novel is really told in summary - Katniss explains what happened when she and Peeta came home, what happened on their tour of the Districts, what happened when she talked to Gale, etc. By telling it all in long paragraphs of summary, Collins removes the reader from the immediacy of the action - and it's both disappointing and disengaging. I wanted to experience Katniss's first meeting with Gale after she returned from the Games. I wanted be part of her trying to get her life together after her horrific experiences. But that's not the way this story is told. Then, about midway through the novel, things start to feel very much like Hunger Games revisited. From the moment it's announced that Katniss will be thrown back into the arena it all starts to feel very much like a re-run. What was exciting and new in the first book, is expected and redundant in the second book. It's not that the final section isn't exciting - it is. There's plenty of action in the last chapters of the novel. But it just wasn't as gripping. I found myself reading to get to the end, rather than to find out what was going to happen.

    As with most "middle books," Catching Fire was written to set up the final part of its trilogy. There will be a rebellion. And there will be a love triangle. The sparks of the rebellion are there, although the reader is kept away from the actual embers. Collins put more time into Katniss's confusion over which boyfriend to pick - I found myself wishing for something, anything to happen to make that rather silly conflict moot. Katniss, as written by Collins, seems very, very young. It's hard to imagine her actually "torn between two lovers." Additionally, Gale plays such a peripheral role in this novel that it's hard to really know him. Peeta is present in almost every chapter - the sweet, loving, doting boyfriend who will be eternally true to Katniss. Gale, however, appears in only a few brief scenes, and never says more than a few words. Book 3 may give us a better picture of what these two young men really meant to Katniss; Catching Fire does not.

    Actually, I think the title accurately reflects what this novel is all about - things in Katniss's world begin to catch fire. They don't actually CATCH fire - it just begins; it's "catching," so to speak. The conflict was set up in Hunger Games. The actual conflagration will play out in the third and final installment. Here, in Catching Fire, we just see the striking of the match. It's not a bad read, and fans of the first novel will enjoy this one. I just found myself wishing for more - more of an understanding of Katniss, Gale, and Peeta; more of an understanding of the totalitarian government they live under; and more of a connection to a story that won me over brilliantly in Hunger Games. This time, I felt a little lost.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I wish I could give it 10 stars!!!, July 9, 2009
    When I read the Hunger Games, I read it straight through the night, from 1AM til 5AM. Couldn't stop reading even though I had to pee badly. After I finished it, I was dying for the sequel. DYING!!!! When I found out the ARC would be available in the spring, I bribed everyone I could think of to get me one. And yes, I got it. The day I got it, I couldn't look at it until 1AM again. This time, I promised myself, I would only look at the first chapter and then put it down. Riiiiight. It was 4:30AM when I finished reading and immediately began plotting to find out when the next book ARC would be available.

    I thought the first one was fantastic. In the back of my mind I felt that the sequel just couldn't be as good. How could it? Boy was I wrong! It was even better! My heart was racing the whole time I was reading it and I simply couldn't put it down. I believe Ms. Collins is the MASTER of the pageturner. Every chapter ends with almost a cliffhanger feeling. It compels you to keep reading. It physically traps you into the book so that you just can't put it down. If you can't read this book in one sitting, then I urge you not to even look at it until you can. Like the first one, you will not be able to put it down. The house could have been on fire and I doubt I would have noticed.

    Since we got to know Peeta and Katniss so well from the first one, what the sequel does is invest us even more deeply into their emotional well being. I won't give any other spoilers than what has already been said. So the book starts with Katniss as the face of the rebellion because of her act of defiance in the first book. As rebellion grows, the President sets up his revenge - and when I found out what it was, I literally sat up in bed and shouted "Oh NO! I can't believe they are doing this to them!!!" Yes I was talking to my book. That's how deeply this book sucks you into this amazing and disturbing dystopian world. It makes you want to grab up a weapon and join the rebellion.

    One thing I have to say, I was deeply satisfied with the ending of this book. The first book ended in such a way that I was bothered by it and itchy for the next book. With the end of Catching Fire, I felt it was absolutely right and thrilled with the conclusion. But I'm still DYING for the third and final book of this amazing book series.

    5-0 out of 5 stars No sophomore slump here, August 1, 2009
    I got a galley at the BEA Conference this year. Before I started to read, I was terrified that Suzanne Collins couldn't possibly live up to my expectations after the extraordinary Hunger Games. I'm thrilled to say that she did not let me down. I don't want to give anything away as it would only ruin the rollercoaster ride of a read, so suffice it to say that all of our favorite characters are back to join Katniss as the spark of revolution catches fire. Collins is masterful. The story is at once personal to Katniss, Peeta & Gale, but it also makes social statements that can apply to society at large. Characters show the best and the worst of humanity. And at several points, I found myself finishing a chapter, stunned at the turn of events. Collins kept me on the edge of my seat. I hope she's writing quickly, because I can't wait for the concluding volume of this amazing trilogy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Collins has done it again, July 10, 2009
    Against staggering odds, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark of District 12 have somehow won the annual Hunger Games. But the fruits of triumph are bittersweet. Success in the arena means a life without want in the Victor's Village, but extravagant food and a nice place to sleep can only provide so much comfort when an increasing amount of one's life must be faked for the protection of those one loves. That's exactly Katniss's predicament, because she when she held up the poisonous berries in the arena, it was interpreted as an act of defiance against the Capitol rather than Katniss's strong will to life. And now the girl on fire has become the spark for rebellion--a rebellion the Capitol is determined to stamp out at any cost.

    I must commend Collins for writing such a phenomenal sequel to The Hunger Games as Catching Fire is. It's everything I hoped for and even more than I expected. Katniss's legend lives on in this action packed, suspense filled drama in which one's friends are nearly indistinguishable from one's enemies and ambiguous meanings make life into one giant maze. Collins takes her portrayal of a dystopian future to the next level in this novel by highlighting the extent of the power the totalitarian Capitol wields and the beginnings of long suppressed dissent. Catching Fire is such an engrossing read, thanks to Collins's well written and executed plot, vivid and realistic characters, and the resulting sense of revolutionary fear. It's so easy to lose track of time while reading this novel, because the story just flows from the page so fluidly; I really enjoyed the many plot twists and the development of each character. The only times I had to pause while reading were due to the multitude of names and minor characters that are somewhat difficult to remember. But overall, Catching Fire is a story so overwhelmingly incredible, no reader will want to put it down.

    Catching Fire and its prequel The Hunger Games are must reads for all readers not just because they are such interesting stories but because they show the nasty side of politics and culture not enough of us are aware of. This trilogy will be especially enjoyed by fans of the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, Cherry Heaven by L.J. Adlington, Shift by Charlotte Agell, Daylight Runner by Ois�n McGann, and the Poison Study trilogy by Maria V. Snyder. I know that I, along with throngs of others, can't wait for the conclusion to this trilogy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars In which the plot most definitely thickens, September 4, 2009
    "On the seventy-fifth anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that even the strongest among them cannot overcome the power of the Capitol..."

    Ever since she pulled those berries out in the last minutes of the previous year's Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen has become an icon of defiance and rebellion to the Districts. She knows that the leaders in the Capitol are not happy that she outsmarted their plans, forcing them to accept two victors and saving her fellow tribute Peeta in the process. But she is unaware of the extent of their ire until she receives an unexpected visit from President Snow, complete with a death threat against Gale's life should she fail to quell the rising spirit of rebellion in the Districts.

    Meanwhile, President Snow has his own plans to quash any inklings of revolution, and they happen to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Hunger Games--also known as the Quarter Quell. As in the two previous Quells (taking place on the 25th and 50th anniversary respectively) the rules of the Games have been altered for the year to remind the Districts that even the annual massacre of their children in the regular games is not enough to atone for their previous attempt at insurgency. But what the Capitol has cooked up for the new Games results in something that nobody could have predicted, not even President Snow himself.

    After reading the Hunger Games and being completely enthralled by the world that Suzanne Collins painted with her words, I was worried that Catching Fire might not be able to hold up to the high standard that the Hunger Games set. And while I did feel that some of the page-to-page action and detail suffered by comparison, it is more than made up for by the sharp upswing in overarching plot and the many twists that never failed to take me by surprise and made me wonder out loud: how did she think of that?! The love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale had me on the edge of me seat wondering who she was going to choose, whether it would be by choice or necessity, and who I would choose if I were in her shoes (definitely Peeta! Sorry, Gale.) In my opinion, it was not as polished or smooth a read as the Hunger Games. At the same time, however, I must acknowledge that the focus was entirely different from the first book, with a far more complex and ambitious plot, and I truly applaud Collins' creativity and ingenuity in weaving the bigger picture of corruption, manipulation, and rebellion within an entire nation into the same captivating first-person narrative of survival that made the Hunger Games such as success. I really enjoyed Catching Fire and cannot wait to get my hands on the third book to see what finally happens to our rebels.

    4-0 out of 5 stars the girl, still on fire, August 23, 2009

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Hands down, the most memorable book I've read within the past few years is Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. CATCHING FIRE is the sequel, and it right away plonks you into all the things that made THE HUNGER GAMES such a terrific, terrific read. Suzanne Collins' meticulous world-building introduced us to a post-apocalyptic future in which North America has ceased to exist. Its remnants came to be called Panem, a nation comprising of twelve districts governed with an iron fist by the Capitol city. The Hunger Games is an annually held event which pits lottery-selected children (called "tributes") drawn from each district and compelled to kill each other until only one is left standing. The Hunger Games, established to commemorate the Capitol's ruthless stamping down of an uprising many years ago, is broadcast to all twelve districts with their residents forced to watch as their youths are slaughtered one by one. It's intended as punishment and as a lesson.

    *** Serious SPOILERS from here on out ***

    Against all odds, young Katniss Everdeen from impoverished District 12 has survived the harrowing Hunger Games and, along the way, won the hearts of the twelve Districts. As reigning champion Katniss's lot in life has improved drastically, and she no longer has to forage and illegally hunt in the woods to feed herself and her mother and little sister Prim. Months have elapsed since the Hunger Games, but Katniss, now seventeen, finds herself still having to be on guard. The Capitol, it seems, hasn't forgotten her tiny acts of rebellion. One strategy Katniss had employed was to pretend to a romance with fellow tribute Peeta, a baker's son also from District 12. This got the audience on their side and was instrumental in Katniss and Peeta's both making it thru the Hunger Games.

    But, even months later, with the Capitol's eyes ever on her, Katniss and Peeta must continue to act mutually smitten - and, horrifyingly for Katniss, they may have to maintain the act for the rest of their lives. Except, for Peeta, it was never an act. I have to say, by the way, that I was pretty indifferent to Peeta in THE HUNGER GAMES, but that I warmed up to him in CATCHING FIRE. He is, after all, a pretty likeable dude, even if he's so noble it's almost unbelievable. And, for Katniss, there's the added dilemma of her childhood friend Gale barely talking to her ever since she returned home. Romantic triangle? Without a doubt. Katniss and Peeta eventually embark on the traditional Victory Tour of the Districts, and, in Katniss and Peeta's travels, you can sense the story arc Collins is building up to, the tiny cracks in the Capitol's ironclad rule. Particularly poignant and dangerous is District 11's reaction to Katniss's appearance.

    In reading THE HUNGER GAMES I was very curious about Katniss's home, so it's gratifying that Collins spends some time exploring it. Things get really desperate for the destitute mining community of District 12 as the Capitol even more relentlessly exerts its influence over the districts, and again this perhaps ties into what Katniss may have unwittingly sparked in her time in the Hunger Games. I was wondering where Suzanne Collins was going to go with the sequel, although I figured it would have to involve her branching out into the bigger picture. Katniss's defiance during the Games very much did not go unnoticed and, in fact, may have fostered seeds of unrest within the oppressed people of Panem. Beneath the skin of the districts, something angry is simmering.

    The Victory Tour marches along, and then it's time again for the annual Hunger Games. Except that the upcoming Hunger Games marks its 75th year, and that's all kinds of ominous. The Quarter Quell is nigh, taking place every 25 years and notorious for introducing vicious twists into the Games' rules. This time, the Capitol arrives at sort of an all-star version of the Hunger Games, bringing back all the previous survivors to compete. For the alarmed and very frightened Katniss, it's time to go back to the arena.

    THE HUNGER GAMES is one of the best, most moving novels I've ever read and, in her writing the rest of the trilogy, my thought was that Suzanne Collins would've had to make a deal with the devil to match the emotional richness and impact and sheer readability of that novel. And CATCHING FIRE comes close. It's not quite as up there in packing that strong emotional punch, but Collins weaves in enough indelible moments to make this a very worthwhile sequel. Katniss continues to be an awesome character, vulnerable and sad but very capable and an absolute deadeye with the bow and arrow.

    One minor quibble with her return to the Games and partnering up with other tributes is that less attention seems to be focused on Katniss (although it's Katniss telling the story in first person narrative). Also, these other tributes aren't as memorable or as wistful as the little girl Rue, the appealing District 11 tribute from the first book. I still marvel at just how moving that passage was when Katniss said her final goodbye to Rue with flowers and then saluted her with a traditional gesture from home. Katniss wasn't thinking of it, but that act smacked of being fairly subversive. No wonder the Capitol grew concerned.

    As CATCHING FIRE expands its storyline, I think we're all waiting for Katniss to take on a more involved role in the coming rebellion. Although, for now, it's perhaps understandable that she's more concerned about what's going on around her on a personal scale. But, hopefully, she sheds her passiveness. As it is, she's treated more as a figurehead for the revolt. If the ending is any indication, Katniss Everdeen is about to get really involved. And the third books also looks to have Gale more in the center of things.

    In terms of sheer adventure and thrills, Suzanne Collins really knows how to step it up, especially once Katniss re-enters the arena. The author comes up with some really messed up perils for the tributes, plus there's the added nuance of the contestants all being past champions. This time, Katniss isn't contending with inexperienced children.

    I do have a problem with the way the book ends. There were signposts along the way, so it's not like it came out of left field, but still I feel that the plot switcheroo comes along too abruptly and feels rushed, and so there's a jarring whiplash effect.

    But, above all, CATCHING FIRE is splendid stuff and a riveting read. Tautly paced, with Collins making you feel that things are about to explode on a larger scale, even as Katniss tries her best to fend for her own little corner. There are moments which are poignant and uplifting, but then these are followed promptly by moments of horror and heartbreak and sudden chilling violence, and these turnarounds leave you sort of twisting in the wind. There's no denying, though, that one quietly powerful moment when, Katniss, who had been thinking hard of taking her family and friends and skedaddling, decides to stay and tough it out. I felt like cheering when she declares: "I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to stay right here and cause all kinds of trouble." That's the girl on fire.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Getting deeper and more complex, August 4, 2009
    I, too obtained an ARC at BEA. I thought I was very lucky to get Catching Fire before September. I was so wrong! Now I have to wait longer than others to read the last book, and it's pure agony wondering what will happen next.

    The Hunger Game was a great book, but Catching Fire is even better. The story is getting deeper and more complex. As another reviewer stated, it's a "rollercoaster ride of a read". You'll never be able to guess what happens next. And once you start, you can never stop until the end. Relationships between Katniss, Peeta , and Gale are also getting more complex. This separates the Hunger Games from other shallow YA romantic fantasy. Their relationships reflect social issues and humanities this trilogy deals with.

    It's categorised as YA fantasy book, but I highly recommend it to adult Science Fiction fans. The Hunger Games trilogy should be and will be a classic like 1984, The Giver, and Fahrenheit 451.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Watch out for the 75th Hunger Games - the Quarter Quell is deadly!, September 6, 2009

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    "And this year, I am one of the stars of the show. I will have to travel from district to district, to stand before the cheering crowds who secretly loathe me, to look down into the faces of the families whose children I have killed..." (p. 4).

    With this thought, Katniss Evendeen goes through the mandated victory parade through the country, as co-victor (with the boy from District 12, Peeta), of the 74th Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are the penalty required of all the Districts to the Capitol, after the repressive government squashed a rebellion. The result? Every year, each of the 12 Districts is required to submit a boy and girl tribute to fight to the death in a bizarre arena: 24 enter, and only 1 lives. However, as the final two tributes in the 74th Game, Katniss and Peeta challenged the status quo by deciding to end their lives simultaneously; the organizers, anticipating a revolt within the Capitol's ranks if such a thing happened, allowed them to share this victory.

    But President Snow is a sore loser. The Games are supposed to demonstrate the Capitol's complete and absolute control over the Districts. How dare a girl from a remote District challenge the Games, and the Capitol's power! Somehow, Snow arranges the third Quarter Quell (the third 25 year anniversary of the victory) to have each District choose its new tributes from the pool of Game survivors. For the first time ever, a selection of previously winning tributes end up back in the Hunger Games, and this time Katniss and Peeta are with 22 other past victors that are, by definition and trial, successful killers. Except now, they've all grown up.

    What will happen? What can happen? What should happen?

    This is part 2 in the longer tale of The Hunger Games. Having read the first book twice, it is difficult for me to "see" the book from the perspective of someone who starts with Catching Fire instead of The Hunger Games. However, I appreciate the effort of author Suzanne Collins not to cram a complete recap of the first book into the first or second chapter.

    And I also know that I am looking forward to book 3!

    Sitting at Starbucks today, the head barista walked by, saw Catching Fire laying on the table, and asked if that was the second book in The Hunger Games series.

    Definitely not just for young adults!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A review you can read without spoilers., August 30, 2009

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    So many of the reviews posted give SO much of the story away and I'm glad I didn't read any of them before I started the book... Mine doesn't at all, so you are safe here. :-)

    In the second book of the Hunger Games triology, Collins has solidified her world and her vision. We get to know more about the characters, and a bit more about the history of Panem. Foundationally, the story sort of all came together.

    I'm still blown away by the harshness in these books. Perhaps being the mother of a teen makes me a tinge sensitive to the subject matter, but somehow it doesn't detract from the story.

    This book was exciting from the start, and darned near impossible to put down. I worried that there would be "more of the same" in terms of what went on in the book, but Collins's creative juices were in high gear, and there was plenty to keep the story fresh.

    I found this better than book one, but that may just be because I was getting used the concept in book one. I can't wait for book three ...

    Highly entertaining and not to be missed! (But for sure read The Hunger Games first) ... Read more

    16. Jackson Jones, Book 1: The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish
    by Jenn Kelly
    Kindle Edition (2010-08-06)
    list price: $12.99
    Asin: B003YFJ71G
    Publisher: Zonderkidz
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    When family reunion day arrives, Jackson, a lonely ten-and-a-half-year-old boy, is loathe to share his room with Great Aunt Harriet. She's a hundred and twelve years old, talks unintelligibly out of her toothless mouth, and has very, very, very big hair. But when he falls into her piles of hair during the night, Jackson encounters a world he'd never dreamed existed. In this magical fantasy complemented by zany illustrations, Jackson meets a host of extraordinary characters and finds that his life, far from being average and uneventful, is being written by the great Author, in whom all stories find their meaning. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Christian Fantasy For Children
    When the publisher contacted me and offered me a review copy of Jackson Jones, I was curious. I can't remember working with Zondervan in the past, and I haven't reviewed very much christian fiction, as I've found it to be a wasteland with very few gems, and I prefer to read books I'll enjoy. However, I'd been spending time purging books in the school library and had been wondering how the genre of children's christian literature had changed since my childhood, and I am predisposed to liking fantasy with slightly nerdy protagonists, so I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, the book only served to reinforce my frustrations.

    Stylistically, this book is distinguished by it's peculiar narrator. As a literary device, an intrusive narrator who addresses readers directly can be a boost to some novels, when used sparingly and with great judiciousness, e.g. the famous line from Jane Eyre, "Reader, I married him." In Jackson Jones, the narrator addresses the reader incessantly. She informs the reader that she is going to take a bathroom break and suggests he do the same, as holding your bladder for a long time is unhealthy. Suspense is attempted by inserting an extra chapter that says "I'm so mean." Large words are used, and then parenthetically defined with examples and commentary.

    As a parent, a former teacher, a lover of children and literature for children, I find myself firmly in the camp that believes that children respond best to literature that treats readers with dignity and respect. C.S. Lewis famously wrote in an essay about writing for children "We must meet children as equals in that area of our nature where we are their equals... The child as reader is neither to be patronized nor idolized: we talk to him as man to man." I rarely felt like the narrator could be connecting with eight to eleven-year-old children.

    That lack of connection was disappointing, because the story itself was interesting in many ways. The characters, setting, and back story all had good potential. But like most of the christian literature I've encountered, the christian elements were rather heavy handed.

    Theologically, I found the message mixed. The idea that God is the author of all of our stories and that he is weaving them all together into one great story is one that I not only believe, but share with my children. However, the book falls into the common western evangelical error that the things we think are most important in our lives (job, where we live, etc.) are most important to God. We can chose the wrong thing, and thus find ourselves wandering away from the story God has for us. In reality, I think the Bible consistently shows that God's story for us has less to do with whether we are concert pianists or businessmen and much more to do with how we live our lives. Do we love our neighbors well? Are we taking care of those in need? Do our lives reflect the values we say we believe? How has the gospel changed us?

    There are some great meditations about our identity in Christ in this book. But the idea that we can make a mistake about where we go to college or what career to pursue creates a culture of paralyzing fear that we will miss God's will for our lives that is very real to 21st century North Americans and this may fuel that fire.

    In the end, Jackson Jones is a fun story, and I don't think it's dangerous or absolute twaddle. I just hoped for something better.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Seriously Silly
    This was a fabulously silly book with a very serious message. The joyful narrative allows the reader to enter the silliness with all the seriousness that a truly silly tale requires! I found the main character very relatable (having been a bit dorky myself), and absolutely adored the supporting characters, especially Meeka, the heartwarming, slightly off-kilter tour guide! Children of all ages will enjoy the humour, and the quirky interjections of the writer. I loved it so much I wanted to devour it all in one sitting, but found that within the story, the truths being presented required more reflection and thought. Reluctantly, I put it down a couple of times and have been deeply impacted as a result. It is a fun and easy read, and with all the quirky characters would be an absolute joy to read aloud with all the different voices. No matter who you are, this book will provoke thought and challenge your understanding of who you think you are. Go get it for all the kids in your life, and the adults who are cool enough to be kids at heart!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fun, Silly Book for Boys that Moms will LOVE!
    Bed-time reading: it is a highlight of our day for the boys... and for me. Each night before lights out, the boys and I curl up together to read chapter books, picture books, comic books, magazines, whatever they are in the mood for on a given night. Over the past few weeks, we've been reading a newly published book: Jackson Jones: The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish by Jenn Kelly, illustrated by Ariane Elsammak, and we've laughed, and smiled, and read well past our usual cut-off time on many a night!

    Jackson Jones: The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish is the story of ten-year-old Jackson Jones, a young boy who is struggling to fit in at a new school after his family's recent move far away from all that was familiar to him: his home; his friends; and his very large, very involved extended family. It is the story of a boy's search for his identity, for his "story."

    Jackson is a quiet boy, a loner, a book worm, an aspiring author, a young man unsure of himself, his choices, and his future... until the day he falls into Great Aunt Harriet's hair. Yes, that's right. He falls into Great Aunt Harriet's GIANT hair and finds a whole new world, a world with elves, keys, doors, and ok, you knew it had to be coming, right?... a stinky fish.

    The author is the mother of a young boy, and after reading this book, both of my boys are convinced that she must be one wild, crazy, and FUN mom! And, I am prone to agree! Jackson Jones: the Tale of a Boy, and Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish is written so that the reader feels that he is sitting down with the author and listening to her tell a story. There are interruptions as the author commiserates with the reader about having to put the book down after the cliff-hanger ending the previous chapter; congratulates readers alternating turns with their parents on lucking out in drawing a short chapter to read; and prepares the reader for an important chapter, an integral event, or a surprising turn in the story. There are breaks when the author stops to define a "sixth grade" vocabulary word or encourages the reader to use his imagination, to visualize, and to dream. And there are is laugh after laugh as Jackson meets a host of interesting characters in Great Aunt Harriet's world!

    Jackson Jones: the Tale of a Boy, and Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish was as fun for me to read to the boys as it was for them to listen. We couldn't help but laugh at the story, the author, and the hilarious titles of the 78 chapters... my favorite: Chapter 15 In Which There are Too Many Books (as if That's Possible), or maybe Chapter 16 In Which There is Frustration, Annoyance, Irritation and Exasperation. The boys' favorite: hmmm... that's hard, maybe: Chapter 7 In Which the Book Really Begins... they thought reading 6 chapters before the book "really begins" was just over-the-top funny!

    For all of its hilarity, this book also relays an important, though not heavy-handed, message to young boys... and girls, the message that each of them is created by "the Author;" each of them has a story to write, a life to live. It reassures children that although they will not be masters at everything they attempt, they each have strengths individual to them and it is their duty to develop these strengths and to use them to make a difference in their lives and the lives of those around them. In the end, quiet, uncertain, loner Jackson learns that he holds the key to making a difference in both his own life, and in the lives of those he loves, including Great Aunt Harriet!

    I received this book from ZonderKidz. in exchange for my honest review. The thoughts printed in this review are entirely my own.

    5-0 out of 5 stars my nine year old read it quickly and loved the imagination of the author
    my daughter started this book yesterday and finished it on the plane home from Hawaii. she loved the author's imagination.

    5-0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC READ
    I got my son this book for a plane ride...he did NOT put it down once in the whole plane trip...he has NOT stopped reading it! He's 7 and has LOVED this one!! I picked it up, just to see what he was into, and its SO wonderfully written! Imaginative, funny and honestly delightful!

    ENJOY! ... Read more

    17. Dog Days (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 4)
    by Jeff Kinney
    Hardcover (2009-10-12)
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $6.64
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0810983915
    Publisher: Amulet Books
    Sales Rank: 80
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    It’s summer vacation, the weather’s great, and all the kids are having fun outside. So where’s Greg Heffley? Inside his house, playing video games with the shades drawn.
    Greg, a self-confessed “indoor person,” is living out his ultimate summer fantasy: no responsibilities and no rules. But Greg’s mom has a different vision for an ideal summer . . . one packed with outdoor activities and “family togetherness.”
    Whose vision will win out? Or will a new addition to the Heffley family change everything? 

    F&P level: T
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Instant Favorite with Son!
    My son loves this series so of course I pre-ordered this book for him. It just arrived today and boy did he gush when I surprised him with it after school. I even got a hug and an "I love you!" before he disappeared with it for the remainder of the evening. He's about halfway through with it already and stopped himself so he would have more to enjoy tomorrow. He rereads them all anyways. I also flipped through it before he came home and chuckled at the parts, the boy reminds me of my own and is probably why he loves this series so much. It is very relatable to kids without being a bad influence. I love the humor and that it keeps my son reading!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not only fun
    First of all the whole series of Wimpy Kid books deserves its success. My kids love the books and I also read all of them myself. I think it is a great series of books not only for the children but for their parents as well. And if you pay some attention to the reading you will actually realize that the books are also in a way educational. Greg is actually a very smart kid and the simple drawings are just perfect for demonstrating humour. Another kid's series that I like for that educational aspect is Why Some Cats are Rascals, Book 2 .

    5-0 out of 5 stars dog days
    I think Dog Days is the best wimpy kid book yet. It is also a hilarious book. I love how it follows the story so well. There is a lot of unexpected parts in this book. It had an outstanding ending. I had waited one month for this book to come out. I think it was "totally" worth the wait. There aren't any new characters, but it does have a lot more of Rowley for people who like Rowley. I hope the people who buy this love it. (Review by George, Age 10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful book
    Diary of a wimpy kid really amazes me. It's about a person named Greg who has to survive middle school. Now, he's in summer vacation.
    I think the summer vacation theme is a good idea in this series, so readers can take a little break from the school theme. The first few pages are basically explanation of Greg's summer vacation. After that, the funny parts come. Overall, this book is great.
    My tip in reading this book is that you don't read too much of it in one day. That way, you can hold the suspense of the story for the next day.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is da bomb
    I think this book was the best book i have ever read in my entire life! One of the reasons why i love this boom so much is because it is outrageously funny. I have read all of the book series that are out and i definitely think this one is the funniest, humors, children book i have read. If you are in the 3rd grade up to 6th grade this is the best book you will have ever read in your life. Ever since I have read the first sentence of the first book of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney has been my favorite author, and i thought Dave Pilkey was hilarious.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Rankings of the books and the funny moments in the book
    I really like your books. You have a great sense of humor and are good at doing cartoons. The minute I got the 3rd book I just started laughing meaning I really liked the book. So I thought the books were so great that I chose to put them in rankings:
    I also have the movie that I got in the summertime and Have the movie novel and the Do-It-Yourself book.
    I am so happy about the books and the type of books they are.
    The only items left by you that I so want is the movie soundtrack, book #5 The Ugly Truth. Thank you so much for writing these books. More books by you I would really like. But if you can do that.
    The last thing I am going to tell is that I have also gotten into the Big Nate series. The 5th book sounds so RAD. Please write more books. ... Read more

    18. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Box of Books
    by Jeff Kinney
    Hardcover (2010-09-07)
    list price: $56.00 -- our price: $30.22
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0810997827
    Publisher: Amulet Books
    Sales Rank: 65
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The first four books in the bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series are available together for the first time in a collectible boxed set. Included are Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rodrick Rules, The Last Straw, and Dog Days, in a specially designed package that features six pages from Rowley Jefferson’s journal, “Diary of an Awesome, Friendly Kid”—an original cartoon by Jeff Kinney.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Please Read this:
    I bought this product for the younger grandchild but found that the older one also enjoyed it.
    ... Read more

    19. The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1)
    by Rick Riordan
    Hardcover (2010-05-04)
    list price: $17.99 -- our price: $10.52
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1423113381
    Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
    Sales Rank: 63
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

    One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

    Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them--Set--has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Scoot Over Percy Jackson, The Kanes Are HERE!
    I must say, when I read the Percy Jackson series, I instantly liked it. I enjoyed the whole Greek Pantheon of ancient gods & goddesses, magic, etc. So, naturally, I wanted to read "The Red Pyramid" to see if it had the same magic. I can happily say that it does and then some. I would even volunteer that I liked "The Red Pyramid" even more than the Percy Jackson books for several reasons.

    First, in "The Red Pyramid", we're introduced to two amazing lead characters who both share in the story's narration. Carter Kane, age 14, is an African American teen who has lived with his father, Julius, his entire life...due to what is described as an ugly custody battle between Julius and his former in-laws (Julius' wife, mother to both Carter and Sadie Kane, died when the children were quite young). Sadie Kane, age 12, looks caucasian (taking after their mother) with light skin, blue eyes, and hair she likes to put colored streaks throughout. Because of the custody agreement, Sadie lives in London year-round with her grandparents - seeing her brother and father only two times per year, which has resulted in the siblings being more like distant relatives to each other. Julius is an archeologist, traveling around the world studying ancient Egyptian artifacts and bringing his son Carter along with him wherever he goes. Carter, because of his father's teachings, is an awkward 14 year old boy, a bit hesitant and unsure of himself. Sadie, on the other hand, despite being two years younger than Carter, is quite a bit more bold, quick to speak her mind and very sure of herself and her opinions. I must say, I loved both Carter and Sadie Kane...for their differences as well as how they grow together as siblings! I cannot reveal much more than this without revealing too much of the book...but I think you'll know what I mean when you read "The Red Pyramid".

    Another reason I enjoyed this book is because of the depth of information given to the reader. It's obvious that Riordan, in his research, learned quite a bit about the ancient Egyptian ways as well as the intricate nature of their belief system....and he definitely gets that information out to the reader in a very exciting and entertaining way.

    Magic and mythology come together in a fascinating and fast-paced way in this book. Instantly, the action starts and you'll be pulled into the book. Humor plays a big role in this book as well (especially from Sadie), which just adds to the entertainment.

    All in all, I'd highly recommend "The Red Pyramid". If you're a fan of the Percy Jackson series, I'm sure you'll like it. Or, perhaps you'll be like me and like it even more! :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A parent's view
    This is the first book I've read by Rick Riordan and I loved it. The combination of suspense, history, and mythology is just brilliant. I'm going to have to read the Olympian series next. I'm a big fan of young adult fiction because kids are a tough audience. They won't slog through a book like an adult will just because they bought it, and so I believe that young adult novels have to be more exciting. Riordan does not disappoint.

    I read in Riordan's bio that he taught English and history. And now, through his books, he's teaching it again, only in a way that makes kids want to learn it. For any parent who wants their child to enjoy two subjects that are normally near the bottom of their list as far as what they have to learn, Riordan breathes new life these subjects. It's too bad that schools haven't caught on to this wonderful way of learning. We might have more engaged students.

    I can't wait to see what other subject Riordan decides to tackle after the Red Pyramid series. Whatever it is, I'm sure it's going to be exciting and informative.

    When I Dream ... Read more

    20. The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory--More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Muggles and Wizards
    by Dinah Bucholz
    Hardcover (2010-09-18)
    list price: $19.95 -- our price: $11.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1440503257
    Publisher: Adams Media
    Sales Rank: 59
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Bangers and mash with Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Hogwarts dining hall.

    A proper cuppa tea and rock cakes in Hagrid?s hut.

    Cauldron cakes and pumpkin juice on the Hogwarts Express.

    With this cookbook, dining a la Hogwarts is as easy as Banoffi Pie! With more than 150 easy-to-make recipes, tips, and techniques, you can indulge in spellbindingly delicious meals drawn straight from the pages of your favorite Potter stories, such as:

    • Treacle Tart--Harry?s favorite dessert
    • Molly?s Meat Pies--Mrs. Weasley?s classic dish
    • Kreacher?s French Onion Soup
    • Pumpkin Pasties--a staple on the Hogwarts Express cart

    With a dash of magic and a drop of creativity, you'll conjure up the entrees, desserts, snacks, and drinks you need to transform ordinary Muggle meals into magical culinary masterpieces, sure to make even Mrs. Weasley proud! ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars The cookbook we've all been waiting for!
    This cookbook is geared for children and young adults but it will please readers, cooks, and Harry Potter fans of all ages. My kids (ages 14, 12, and 8), have finally found an activity they can all agree on - cooking and sampling savory Harry Potter recipes. This book covers every single recipe that appears in all seven of the Harry Potter books. Ever wonder what Pumpkin Juice tastes like? Or Treacle tart? Well, you're about to find out!
    Just crack open this book for easy to follow recipes, that have been authenticated and thoroughly researched and tested. Adults and children will delight in tracing their favorite Harry Potter delicacies back to the original source, while recreating some of these magical moments.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally !!! A Harry Potter Cookbook That Covers it All.
    Great and thorough book. Recipes are amazing. Includes quotes from various Harry Potter Books regarding the specific food mentioned and informative or humorous tidbits. Easy to follow recipes that even my 9 year old can do on his own. The perfect gift for ANY Harry Potter fan.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and creative cookbook! A must-have for any real Harry Potter fan!
    Who hasn't read the Harry Potter books and wondered what all those delicious foods tasted like?? This book is masterfully written by one of us- a true Harry Potter fan! Its the perfect gift for any real fan, a lot of fun, easy to follow recipes, and the results taste fantastic! A must-have!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An absolute "must" for any Harry Potter fan who loves to cook!
    All you wannabe wizards and witches out there, listen up: Use your wand and point to this book in the bookstore and say, "Accio!" (The summoning spell), because you'll want this on your bookshelf in your kitchen.

    This is a bewitching brew of a book, a collection of recipes by Dinah Bucholz whom I suspect has worked behind the scenes at the Hogwarts kitchen. The publisher has wisely published this as a hardback, and gone to great lengths to give it an aged look--the paper simulates parchment printing, and the sidebars are comprised of parchment scrolls. The hardback book also lays flat, which is essential: don't you hate it when recipe books flop shut?

    Throughout the book, where specific dishes have been mentioned in the Harry Potter novels, Dinah explains the connection; for instance, in a recipe for Vol-au-Vents: "Mrs. Weasley is really an amazing cook. To prepare all the food for her son's wedding, especially such elegant, classy savories as vol-au-vents, is just simply, well, impressive, to say the least (see HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, Chapter 6.)"

    Vol-au-Vents are puff pastry, in case you didn't know.

    What makes the recipes themselves fun is that the sidebars tell the story behind the recipe: its historical basis, and some fun facts.

    Dinah clearly knows her way around a kitchen and can ladle it out--150 recipes that cover everything from breakfast foods to after-dinner deserts, a mouthwatering selection of food that will leave you hungering for more. (The book is 239 pages.)

    If you are a cook or know anyone who is a cook and wants to try some traditional English dishes specifically mentioned in the seven Harry Potter novels, this book is a "must" buy.

    I suspect it'll find its way on Muggles' kitchen shelves worldwide, and over time their copies will be splashed upon with ingredients; it will be well-thumbed, and dog-eared, until it's worn out from use--at which time one should buy a replacement copy.

    I wish the publisher's budget had included an 8 to 16-page section of color photos, but the publisher had to draw the line somewhere as to costs. (Maybe they'll eventually relent if we all send our owls with letters saying we want color photos.)

    Even without the omission of photos, this is a first-rate cookbook, sure to please even the most finicky diner.

    Note: I did contribute an introduction to this book because I thought so highly of it.


    5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    this cookbook is AWESOME! it has like every single food that's mentioned in harry potter and the recipes are GREAT! its a great present for harry potter fans. if you are one you should really buy this. its so cool.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Super great read n eat!
    The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook is a MUST read and eat !! You cannot be a Harry Potter fan without tasting what Harry Potter ate. The collection of recipes is thorough, accurate, clear, and easy to follow.It is authentic and informative. The book is elegant and
    pleasant and the very best gift for birthdays and holidays. Kudos to Bucholz for creating and sharing this book. I finally know what treacle tart is, its origin, and how tasty it is. Thank You D. Bucholz.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great cookbook!
    If you're a Harry Potter fun-this cookbook is for you! The cookbook has a lovely appearance and the recipes are mouthwatering-so even if you haven't read the Harry Potter books you will enjoy trying some of the unusual foods listed inside.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally!
    This book is so awesome. I already tried 5 recipes and each one is better than the next!!!! ... Read more

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