The Bliss Trilogy by Kathryn Littlewood

bliss_klittlewood*Note: the last two summaries may include spoilers to their previous book

Over the summer, I became engulfed in an intriguing book series, the Bliss trilogy. In the first book, Bliss, problems arise when the Bliss parents go on a baking retreat for one week. Their children, Thyme, Sage, Leigh, and Rosemary, the main character, are left with an unfriendly babysitter to take care of them and their magical bakery. The kids know they must protect the secret of the magical bakery while their parents are away. However, when the mysterious Aunt Lily arrives unexpectedly, things quickly get out of hand. Humorous turns of events create chaos when several enchanted recipes completely turn around the people of their hometown, Calamity Falls. Unsure of whom to trust, will Rosemary Bliss and her two brothers be able to save their home before it all comes crashing down?

In the smashing sequel to the first book, A Dash of Magic, nefarious Aunt Lily has stolen the Bliss family magical cookbook. Rosemary Bliss must defeat her mighty Aunt Lily in a baking contest, France’s Gala des Gateaux Grands, in order to save her family’s all-powerful cookbook. Along with an alliance of a talking cat and mouse, her great-great-great grandfather Balthazar, and her brother Ty, Rose encounters many close calls and wacky magical ingredients. A Dash of Magic is a thrilling book, which many Bliss fans will love.

Finally, the grand finale to the inspiring Bliss trilogy is called Bite Sized Magic. All Rose had ever wanted was to be famous, but after winning the Gala des Gateaux Grands, she realizes it is a lot more work than she imagined. She is soon kidnapped by the Mostess snack company, which uses kitchen magic for evil rather than good. They threaten her into perfecting their best selling (and most evil) recipes in a mere five days. To save her family and herself, and to defeat this wicked baking company, Rose must face one of her most fearsome challenges yet.

This trilogy is hilarious, wacky, magical, and fascinating, all rolled up into one series! I would recommend these books for all ages, although they might be overwhelmingly long for younger kids. Since I love baking and reading, I was thrilled when I received the first book as a gift from one of my friends, and I immediately bought the next two. I fell in love with the hilarious wit and charm included in each and every novel, and the incredible imagery made me feel like I was traveling alongside Rose, all the way from Calamity Falls to the majestic city of Paris. Her handsome brother Ty, sweet sister Leigh, comedic brother Sage, encouraging parents, and her crazy pets and grandfather all make the story that much more enticing. Readers will fall in love with all of the characters, the plot, and a sensational touch of magic while reading the outstanding Bliss trilogy!

-Alaina K., 7th Grade

The Bliss Trilogy is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library.

Authors We Love: Andrew Clements

Andrew_Clements_cropOne of my all-time favorite authors is Andrew Clements. Clements has written a variety of genres, including mystery and realistic fiction. Though some of his novels are a quick, easy read, others are longer and more elaborate. Below, I have summarized a few of my favorites:

Recently, I read the fast and fun novel Keepers of the School: We the Children. This is the first book in Andrew Clements’s newest series, Keepers of the School. In this novel, Benjamin Pratt finds the school janitor with a broken ankle. Upon the brink of death, the janitor gives Ben a special coin that had been passed down through generations of janitors. The coin has mysterious writing, which commands Ben to defend his school. Ben’s school is being remodeled into an amusement park, which seemed great at first, but the writing on the coin makes him think twice about it. With mixed feelings, Benjamin decides to protect the school at all costs. Who should be trusted, and who should be avoided? Read Keepers of the School: We the Children to find out. Warning: this is a wonderful book, but be sure to have the next few novels in the series at hand- it goes quickly and is a MAJOR cliffhanger!

Another fascinating book by Andrew Clements is Things Not Seen. Things Not Seen is a longer and more advanced novel than We the Children. This book describes how Bobby Philips, a regular 15-year-old boy, has a little shocker when he wakes up on a seemingly normal day. When Bobby looks in the mirror, to his surprise, he is invisible! Bobby and his parents are completely puzzled, and Bobby is not allowed to leave the house with his “condition.” After his parents are in an accident, Bobby decides to bundle up and leave the house. He meets a blind girl named Alicia, and she becomes Bobby’s only friend in his state of invisibility. Bobby’s school begins to become dangerously suspicious of his long absence, and suspect his parents did something to him. To clear his parents’ name, Bobby and his newfound friend encounter many close calls while searching for a solution to his problem. How is this mess resolved? Read the exciting trials and errors of Bobby Philips’s adventures to discover the answer.

These are just a few of the amazing books written by Andrew Clements. I have read many of his books, and love everything he has written. Hopefully, you too will pick up one of his intriguing books and be drawn into the world of Andrew Clements!

-Alaina K., 6th Grade

Magazine Review: Muse Magazine

museAlthough everyone loves a good book, we can’t always fit reading a novel into our busy schedules of school, homework, etc. If I ever don’t have the time to delve into a mind-capturing story, another great choice is picking up an interesting magazine! One of my personal favorites is Muse magazine. Muse is an awesome, scientific publication that is filled with funny and memorable articles. If you want to learn something new, or just have a laugh, it’s a good idea to grab a Muse, “the magazine of life, the universe, and pie-throwing.”

I have always loved being able to actually hold books and magazines in my hand, so I enjoy receiving a hard copy of Muse magazine. However, if you’re more of the techy type, Muse has a digital version along with your hard copy subscription! This is a super fun magazine for all ages, including articles about everything from hitchhiking robots to logic leaps to “what personality quiz are you?”

If I haven’t yet convinced you of how exciting and interactive this magazine is, you can preview some of its features on the website www.musemagkids.com. In addition to introductions of Muse’s latest articles, this website includes photos, stories from Muse subscribers, and stimulating questions to comment on. So take a break from your voracious reading, have a laugh, and get your Muse on!

-Alaina K., 6th grade

Book Review: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

westing_gameI recently read The Westing Game as an assignment for my English class. Even though I read this book for school, I ended up loving it.

The Westing Game is an intriguing mystery written by Ellen Raskin. In this fascinating novel, Samuel Westing of the Westing Paper Products Corporation is found dead, supposedly murdered. His sixteen chosen heirs, including everyone from a doctor to an inventor to a judge, are invited to live at Sunset Towers, located at the edge of Michigan Lake. Westing’s will is read to his heirs, where it is revealed that they are to play the Westing game. They must play in order to name the murderer amongst themselves and inherit Westing’s 200 million dollar estate.

I found this book very interesting and well detailed, but at the same time it didn’t give away all the answers. The Westing Game was hard to put down, and the whole time I was reading it I was on the edge of my seat. The amazing twists and turns made sure that things were not always as they seemed. I was constantly guessing and formulating the solution in my mind, but I did find it challenging to keep track of all the characters. There were about 20 people introduced in the plot, which got a little bit confusing. However, it all became clear towards the end, and all in all, this was an enjoyable mystery with evidence that keeps you guessing until the very last page.

I love the fact that even though The Westing Game is a fictional story, it is believable enough that you could see it actually happening in real life. This book is great for grades 6 and up. Please note that the book has several old-fashioned stereotypes about certain characters and some drinking. Whether you have to read The Westing Game as a school assignment or if you are just looking for an interesting read, I would highly recommend this book to anyone that loves a brain-stimulating mystery.

-Alaina K., 6th grade

Book Review: Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer

half_moon_investigations_coverHey there Artemis Fowl fans! If you have already read (and reread) the Artemis Fowl series, another great book by Eoin Colfer is Half Moon Investigations.

Though we know Eoin Colfer best for his incredible portrayals in the Artemis Fowl fantasies, his realistic fiction Half Moon Investigations is truly astounding. Based in present day, this is an action-packed mystery you won’t soon forget. In this novel, Fletcher (Half) Moon, a private detective, gets involved in his most dangerous case yet. When Fletcher is employed by April Devereux to investigate the Sharkey family, specifically Red Sharkey, he gets much more than he bargained for. Fletcher is badly injured, accused of a severe crime, and must constantly try to determine where his trust should lie. The twists and turns, vivid descriptions, and intriguing story line of Half Moon Investigations are sure to satisfy any voracious reader’s needs.

One of this adventure’s greatest strengths is its ability to pull you in and not let go. I was completely engaged in Half Moon Investigations, and I felt like I was right there alongside Fletcher every step of the way. With phenomenal details and a spot-on view into the world of Fletcher Moon, this book is nearly impossible to put down. Eoin Colfer made all of the characters in his novel really come to life. It was almost as if you could pick up the phone book, find Fletcher Moon’s number, and have him describe the whole story to you in person.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the Artemis Fowl series or who is looking for a good mystery. What discoveries will Fletcher Moon make? It’s up to you to find out- by reading Half Moon Investigations.

-Alaina K., 6th grade

Event Recap: Jeff Kinney Author Visit

Jeff_greg-620x620The Mission Viejo Library hosts many awesome events and book signings. Last year, I went to a book signing with the author Jeff Kinney.

Jeff Kinney visited Mission Viejo to debut Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck. This is the eighth book in the wildly popular series. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck is about a middle school kid named Greg Heffley, who has lately been running into some bad luck. His challenges in middle school are hard to solve, so an unsure Greg turns to a Magic 8 Ball for help. Will this solve all of his problems, or only make his troubles worse? Find out about the ups and downs of Greg’s life in Jeff Kinney’s newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book.

At the event, instead of running into “hard luck,” I came across good luck. I had the fantastic opportunity to ask Jeff Kinney a few questions. Read below to find out his answers and see if you have the same favorites as he does.

Q: What is your favorite Diary of a Wimpy Kid book?

A: Right now “Hard Luck,” because it’s stuck in my head, but my all time favorite is the first book.

Q: What’s your favorite Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie?

A: The first one.

Q: Which character are you the most like?

A: The bad side of me is most like Greg.

It was amazing to have the chance to meet and interview one of my favorite authors. At the event, they also had hilarious Diary of a Wimpy Kid games and fortunes. It was a blast!

To find out about other cool activities hosted by the Mission Viejo Library, go to their website at http://cityofmissionviejo.org/Library/. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what new authors and events will be here this year! Please take a moment to post a comment, and list your favorite Jeff Kinney book, and movie, and which character you are the most like!

-Alaina K., 6th grade