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NOVEL REVIEWS CORNER
Frenzy (Dreamhouse Kings) by
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 18, 2010)
Their destiny is to fix history. Their dream is to get home.
When you live in a house that's really a gateway between past and
present, you have to be ready for anything. It's a painful fact the
Kings have faced since moving to Pinedale eight days ago. Desperately
trying to rescue their mother from an unknown time and place, brothers
Xander and David have lunged headlong into the chaos of history's
greatest--and most volatile--events. But their goal has continually
escaped their grasp.
And worse: Finding Mom is only a small part of what they must do,
thanks to the barbaric Taksidian. His ruthless quest to sieze their
house and its power from them has put not only the family, but all of
mankind, in grave danger.
Somehow, the key to it all hinges on Uncle Jesse's words to the boys:
"Fixing time is what our family was made to do." But how can they fix a
world that has been turned upside down--much less ever find their way
At long last, the secrets of the house and the King family are revealed
in the stunning conclusion to this epic series.
If you would like to read the Prologue and first Chapter of Frenzy, go HERE.
Frenzy was an exceptional conclusion to the Brilliant Dreamhouse Kings
series. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. It kept me guessing
till the very end. The Kings had been through enough struggles to drive
anyone insane, and they still haven’t gotten any closer to finding
there mom. They’re all on there last life and they need a miracle. And
no one provides miracles like Jesus Christ! Action, suspense,
adventure, and fantasy are all served in great quantity in this book.
This book was impossible to put down. I had high expectations for this
book, and it didn’t disappoint. 11 on a scale of 1 to 10!
by Reid A. (Teen Reviewer)
Bonus Review 1:
“Let’s do it!” (Xander and David – at a critical moment in the story)
Robert Liparulo has written the PERFECT ending (or is it?) for his
Dreamhouse King series! Frenzy starts out with a terrifying scene, and
doesn’t let up the ENTIRE novel! In the last book, Whirlwind, readers
learn some key information about the King’s house and how it functions.
Frenzy opens the reader’s mind even further as Xander and David
discover even greater details about the ebb and flow of time and how
the house serves to channel the flow. They also learn the significance
of their family’s role within the time continuum, and that theirs is a
role which they must choose to embrace. It is a WILD ride, readers! The
search for the King’s mother becomes quite desperate as does Xander and
David’s will to simply survive! You DO NOT want to miss this book!!
Xander and David take their lives in their own hands in Frenzy. These
boys are determined to find their mother and rescue her from Taksidian
and Phemus. What they discover in this novel, is that Taksidian is far
more dangerous and evil than they ever imagined, and his plans for
mankind…well, let’s just say he doesn’t care about much except his own
sorry self. I don’t think he realizes the depth of the King family’s
love for one another and the sheer determination they each hold in
their hearts to protect and defend one another amid this bizarre
assault from Time itself. It’s hard to imagine that Liparulo could
possibly raise the stakes any higher, but he does indeed take suspense
to an entirely new level!
As a mom, my heart wrestled with this story. I wanted to protect Xander
and David so badly I could hardly contain myself! Yet as the novel went
on, I found myself cheering them on, proud that they wouldn’t give up
no matter the cost, and I loved the way their love for one another
matured and deepened. But you know what I loved most about this book?
Liparulo showcases the faith element in this story in a bold and
dramatic way that readers will NEVER forget! He hasn’t done that up
until now, but when he decides to share his heart – watch out! He does
it in a way that only he can do, and it just blows me away!!
Frenzy…read it! Savor it! Buy the entire series for the teens in your
life and give them the grandest adventure reading has to offer! What an
Reviewed by: Kim Ford
To My World"
Bonus Review 2:
With more twists and turns than the crazy Dreamhouse, Robert Liparulo
whips, yanks and stretches the complex storyline to a
close...well...not exactly. How about a rest? Kind of.
The six book series span a week in real time and centuries in time
travel. The King family is stretched to breaking during their
adventures that made me weak in the knees more than once.
Frenzy pulls loose ends tight and reveals more pieces of the Dreamhouse
puzzle. Liparulo played out the tiny Christian element beautifully and
the book series ended on a satisfying note. There are elements that
would be a lot scary for easily disturbed kids so keep that in mind.
Otherwise this series is a terrific, page-turning read.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer
at: "Scrambled Dregs"
The Blue Umbrella: A Novel
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (October 1, 2009)
An orphan faces an evil magician in this literary fantasy for readers
of all ages that probes the depths of good and evil.
The life of ten-year-old Zac Sparks changes overnight when his mother
is killed by lightning. He's sent to live in Five Corners with his
Aunties, two cruel old hags who obviously don't like him. It isn't long
before Zac knows something really strange is going on. Five Corners is
populated with weird characters--a midget butler, a girl who doesn't
speak, a blind balloon seller, and a mysterious singer who is heard but
not seen. Then there's the Aunties' father, Dada. Zac's first encounter
with Dada is so terrifying he faints dead away.
The one bright spot is Sky Porter, the proprietor of the general store
across the street, a friendly soul who encourages Zac--when the Aunties
aren't looking--and shows him a kindness that is sadly lacking from his
dismal life. But Sky isn't what he seems either, and when Zac learns
Sky's amazing secret he realizes, to his dismay, that this wonderful
man may have a very dark side as well.
Discovering that Dada is an evil magician who is intent on stealing the
ultimate treasure, Zac knows many lives are at stake, including his
own. With time running out, he must turn to the one person who might be
able to help: Sky Porter. Can Zac trust him?
“Hath the rain a father? Or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of
whose womb come the ice? And the hoary frost of heaven, who hath
gendered it? The waters are his as with a stone, and the face of the
deep is frozen.” (Job, Chapter 38 verses 28-30)
Weather is something that shapes our lives in tremendous ways. Sunshine
brightens our mood, tornadoes and hurricanes terrify us, and a
beautiful rainbow leaves us speechless with wonder. Mike Mason has
taken the essence of the weather, from its raging terror to its silent
an awesome beauty and built upon it a children’s fantasy that will be
long remembered. As a matter of fact, The Blue Umbrella will always
remind me of the very specific and trustworthy ways that God arranges
every event of my life.
Simply but very intelligently written, The Blue Umbrella begins as a
rather dark tale of loss and anguish. Pricilla and Esmeralda Henbother
come swooping down into Zachery Sparks’ life during one of his darkest
moments and make it even darker. Swept away to the very strange town of
Five Corners, Zack begins to notice many unusual things about its
people – especially the people and events going on at Porter’s store
across the street. Asking non-stop questions, Zack eventually uncovers
many of the secrets in the town. With each discovery, Zack learns
something about the human heart and its fickle ability to turn abruptly
from friendship to vengeful anger. Zack also learns that
trustworthiness is the foundation of life’s most important
As in any good children’s fantasy, the bad guys are especially cruel
and scary people, and the good guys seem almost too kind to be sincere.
However, Mike Mason has turned these polar opposites into believable
characters that draw you deep within the story. The author’s own
interview at the end of the book assures the reader that this powerful
reflection of Christ’s love for us was not purposefully intended from
the start, but it flows beautifully from the story as I’m sure it flows
from the heart of the author.
Mike Mason’s novel, The Blue Umbrella, will provide parents with many
teachable moments with their children. I think it would be particularly
effective read aloud and discussed as a family. No matter how it’s
enjoyed, whether individually or as a family, The Blue Umbrella will be
a story that children will return to again and again for the sheer
pleasure of a well-told story. Mike Mason is a very talented wordsmith,
and I hope he will continue to write stories for children.
Oh, and just another note...this is a 400+ page novel, so be aware!
This is intended for children 9-13, and particularly those who like to
Reviewed by: Kim Ford
To My World"
Trouble, London Confidential Series #1
By Sandra Byrd
More in London Confidential
Tyndale House / 2010 / Paperback
When her family moves to London, 15-year-old Savvy Smith has to make
her way in a new school and a new country. She just knows the school
newspaper is the right place for her, but she doesn’t have the required
experience, and the cute editor-in-chief is not looking to train
anyone. She has to come up with a way to prove herself and nab the one
available position on the newspaper staff at Wexburg Academy.
Stop that plane! I MUST go to
London after reading this book! Teen
anglophiles will unite after picking up these books. Seriously, I so
envy Savvy and her new life. Sandra Byrd made me drool after reading
her Lexi Stuart series. Now I want to talk with a British accent and
have a cuppa tea with scones and Devonshire cream.
Savvy is my type of girl. Seriously I loved reading about her.
Even though she's an American transplant, she doesn't act obnoxiously
or try to compare everything to American stuff. While she wants to fit
in, she doesn't go out of her way to get into the in crowd or become
popular. She just wants to find her niche. I loved how she had to go
through several trial runs before finding it and how the teachers would
be relieved when she said she wasn't coming back. The newspaper story
is handled very well and even though I think that advice columns are a
bit passe, I liked Savvy's approach to it.
I want a Fishcoteque pub near me! First off, Savvy's mom is
super cool to just let her go there after school on her own (in a new
country no less). Second, the food sounds absolutely delish (I'm
totally craving some fish and chips right now). Third, the place is
described as being a really fun, yet safe hangout that you can go and
grab great food and chill with your laptop. And it's British! What more
could you possibly want? Fishcoteque is one of the best hangouts I've
read in a YA book this year.
I honestly have no complaints about this book. It was really
fun to read and allowed me to travel to somewhere I've always wanted to
go to in my life. I really like how Savvy is mature enough to explore
places on her own, yet still respects her family and gets along very
well with her parents. Their search for a church is quite funny as I
can relate to the same ordeal with my parents about trying to see where
we would finally fit in. It's really nice to know that even in a
different country and culture that there are lots of things that are
still the same. Ok, I take it back as there is one tiny little detail I
had a problem with. I'm not quite sure why this book is marketed
towards 8-12 year olds. It's more of a 11-15 year old targeted range if
anything. Other than that little quibble, I LOVED this book and I
cannot wait to read the rest in the series. Oh...London is calling...
by Deborah Khuanghlawn at "Books, Movies and Chinese Food"