Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Magic Hat of Mortimer Wintergreen by Myron Levoy-5 stars

Levoy, Myron, Magic Hat of Mortimer Wintergreen. 4:22 hrs. (unbar.). Blackstone Audio, 2015. 

After their parents were killed in a Sioux attack, Amy and Joshua have been living with their evil Aunt Vootch. Set in 1890s South Dakota, Amy and Joshua are constantly working to the bone and getting punished by their card-obsessed aunt. When traveling magician/peddler, Mortimer Wintergreen, rolls through town, the two escape and hitch a ride with him. With the help of the Mortimer's temperamental magic hat, the siblings and their friend head to New York to find Amy’s and Joshua’s grandparents.  Aunt Vootch, however, is hot on their trail and determined to bring them back to South Dakota. Will the siblings find their grandparents in time? 

Narrator, Kirby Heyborne’s  engaging narrative brings to life the unusual world of Amy and Joshua. His unique voice adds depth and humor to the characters and their personalities. The plot is well developed, funny, and easily draws the reader into the book. The narrative style of Kirby easily complements the writing style of Levoy. Fans of humorous fantasy adventures will enjoy this delightful read. 

5 stars, Grades 4 to 7. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Keep Moving by Dick Van Dyke-4.5 stars

Van Dyke, Dick, Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging. (unbar.). 5 CDs. 5.3 hrs. Blackstone Audio, 2015.

What does it mean to get old? How do you know when you are old? How does one keep young while aging? Dick Van Dyke discusses the answers to these questions as he describes his past, his experience, his close calls with death, and more. He delves in to what it means to truly live and what matters most.

Narrting his own book, Dick Van Dyke brings a level of humor and wisdom to his book. His intonations are easy to listen to and draw the reading into his world. His objectivity at aging and looking back on his life helps the reader to get in to Dick’s head and truly see the world through his eyes. The story is well written and has a logical pattern to its chronology. Listeners who enjoy humor, comedians, and biographical memoirs will enjoy listening to this book.

4.5 stars, ADULT

Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage-4 stars

Savage, J. Scott, Fires of Invention (Mysteries of Cove #1). 10 CDs (unbar.). 11.1 hrs. Blackstone Audio, 2015. 

Trenton Colman is creative person with an aptitude for mechanics. He lives in a city known as Cove. Buried below a cave, Cove is anti-invention, anti-creative, and anti-independence. When youth finish school, they enter an apprenticeship assigned by the government, they eat what they’re told each day, and they don’t ask question. Failure to follow the rules results in retraining or, worse, death. When Trenton finds a cylinder of unapproved origin, Callista Babbage, inventor, Leo’s daughter, confronts him. Together, they not only discover clues to an invention Leo was building, but also that something is off about the history Cove has told everyone.  All of which got Leo killed. As the government starts to catch on to what they’re doing, will Callista and Trenton be able to finish finding the clues?  Will they be able to figure out Cove’s dark past?

Narrator, Kirby Heyborne uses his vast experience to bring to life Trenton’s world. The plot is slow to pick up, but well developed and Kirby does a great job of pulling the reader into it. The characters’ personalities are a little stiff, but draw the reader into the story with their quirky natures and character growth. With a cliff-hanger for an ending and the promise of something really interesting to come, readers who enjoy dystopian fiction, adventure, and fantasy will enjoy reading this book. 

4 stars, Grades 5 to 9.