MG Book Review – THE FOG DIVER

the fog diverBook Title: The Fog Diver

Author: Joel Ross

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: May 26th 2015

Source: Hard copy of book received in exchange for my honest review.

From Goodreads: A deadly white mist has cloaked the earth for hundreds of years. Humanity clings to the highest mountain peaks, where the wealthy Five Families rule over the teeming lower slopes and rambling junkyards. As the ruthless Lord Kodoc patrols the skies to enforce order, thirteen-year-old Chess and his crew scavenge in the Fog-shrouded ruins for anything they can sell to survive.

Hazel is the captain of their salvage raft: bold and daring. Swedish is the pilot: suspicious and strong. Bea is the mechanic: cheerful and brilliant. And Chess is the tetherboy: quiet and quick…and tougher than he looks. But Chess has a secret, one he’s kept hidden his whole life. One that Lord Kodoc is desperate to exploit for his own evil plans. And even as Chess unearths the crew’s biggest treasure ever, they are running out of time.

My take: In a world where natural fog had been replaced with a deadly mist made of nanites (nanomachines), humans are fighting for survival and now live on mountains. A power crazy and evil lord, in a crazy attempt at a way to control the nanite fog, conducted human experiments that always lead to the subjects death. Until one of them survived.
The book follows a group of scavenger kids on the quest to find any item of value from the ruins that will help finance a cure for their sick and dying mother figure.
I can not believe how much I fell in love with the world in the book. The post-apocalyptic feel, the steam powered technology, the extremely hard life in the slums and how resilient and resourceful Chess and his friends were.

I love all the characters. Super-tetherboy Chess and his struggle with bravery or cowardice. Skilled mechanic Bea and her extremely candid nature. Smart and witty captain Hazel who sometimes takes on way too much responsibility, and strong Swedish whose loyalty never fails. Of course there is also Loretta but I’m still not sure how to feel about her past, so I don’t trust her much (just yet). Nisha and Vidious the mutineers captains felt a little cliché at times but it didn’t bother me too much.

I found the plot quite intriguing and definitely a page turner although at times certain details didn’t quite make sense or feel pertinent to the scene they were revealed in.
The book ended at a satisfying point but there are so many questions left unanswered, and Koboc menace was still strong. It left my heart pounding but not in a cliffhanger way.

How long until book 2? And I hope and pray they don’t change the cover design. I love this one so much.

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MG Book Review – The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill

**This Summer I will be playing catch-up with some books I requested for review last year and never got around to reading and reviewing for many reasons. When I go out of my way to request a book, I make it a point to talk about it whether I enjoyed it or not.**


The Spy Catchers of Maple HillBook Title:
 The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill

Author: Megan Frazer Blakemore

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: May 6th 2014

Source: E-ARC received on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. However I was unable to read it back then. The E-ARC expired so I bought my own copy.

From Goodreads: Hazel Kaplansky is a firm believer in the pursuit of knowledge and truth–and she also happens to love a good mystery. When suspicions swirl that a Russian spy has infiltrated her small town of Maple Hill, Vermont, amidst the fervor of Cold War era McCarthyism, Hazel knows it’s up to her to find a suspect… starting with Mr. Jones, the quietly suspicious grave digger. Plus she’s found a perfect sleuthing partner in Samuel Butler, the new boy in school with a few secrets of his own. But as Hazel and Samuel piece together clues from the past and present, the truth is suddenly not what they expected, and what they find reveals more about themselves and the people of their cozy little town than they could ever have imagined.

My take: This is a historical fiction set during the Cold War, during a period where McCarthy was a Senator. Communities were tormented by the idea that your neighbor could easily be a Communist, which brought a wave of distrust right along with the constant fear of an Atomic Bomb being dropped.

The main character Hazel was very smart but that didn’t keep her from getting wrapped up in that belief, so she often went around looking for suspicious behaviors in the people of her little town until the day she found something.

I must say I fell in love with smart-mouth characters since I read Three Times Lucky, but Hazel was too much. Like her friend Samuel said in the book she had a “one-track mind”. She was convinced of what she thought she saw or deducted that she often didn’t listen to what people were actually saying around her or to her. I didn’t like her much. Even at the end when she sort of learned her lesson. If that was the author’s intention, I think she did amazing. I suspected as much after reading the author’s notes in the back.

I also felt like the story could have been a bit shorter. Some chapters felt unnecessary which made the plot drag a little.

Overall I enjoyed reading the book and getting an insider view of what life was for the average people during the Cold War. All the suspicions and being fearful of even telling the truth because you have no clue how the person you’re telling it to will interpret it.

If you like mystery and historical you will enjoy it.

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April – May 2k15 Recap

April was a void. That’s the only way I can explain how it felt going through that month. I struggled with a lot of unpleasant emotions, wave after wave. You’re probably wondering what exactly happened right? Well, I still don’t feel comfortable sharing. Although if you’ve been around my blog for a while you most likely have an idea by now.
I did take one very important fact away from that month though. Very good friends are worth more than their price in gold. I’m very grateful for my friends.

By mid-May, my struggle eased off a little. It was either that or I had successfully managed to keep myself so busy there was no time left for unpleasant feelings to crowd my brain and heart.

So did I read anything? I managed a few books and I really enjoyed the variety.

Middle Grade Fiction: El Deafo, The Book of Wonders.

Then I also read the following: Aya Vol 1, The Summer Prince, Parable of The Sower, The Crystal Keeper (book 1, 2, 3), Aya Vol 2, Anya’s Ghost.

For those of you wondering about the writing, it is happening in my notebooks. Baby steps.

So how is everyone?

Love,
Akoss

Posted in Life, My Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The value of Recognition and my Thanks to Middle Shelf Magazine

Best Blogs Badge 2015Earlier this year I was surprised when I received an e-mail from Middle Shelf Magazine with news of an Award. They nominated my blog as part of their 2015 Best of The Blogs.

I was first shocked because I’ve been neglecting my blog in favor of my YouTube channel instead. There was a point last year when I got overwhelmed with book review requests while I was beginning to question why I was doing what I was doing in the first place. So I took time off, then discovered I could do my reviews on YouTube instead and decided to give it a go.
Even though I was not happy ignoring my blog, the passion I had for it wasn’t there so I decided not to force it. But I missed my Marvelous Middle Grade reviews. I missed how happy they made me and I was embarrassed I wasn’t doing it anymore or as regularly as I used to.

So the award was a shock. I didn’t think anybody paid attention outside of my usual readers. Then I was humbled and happy that someone else was paying enough attention to mention my blog. By then I was already thinking of ways to balance the blog I missed and the YouTube channel I have come to appreciate a lot.

I’m still working on that but meanwhile, I want to Thank the entire team at Middle Shelf Magazine for noticing my blog and giving me that spark with their Award. It meant more than I can ever express.

If you guys don’t know about Middle Shelf Magazine, click on the name and it will take you to their site. I’ve never stopped championing Middle Grade Fiction and I’m not stopping anytime soon.

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