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What Would the Founding Fathers Think: A Young American's guide to understanding the mess our country is in and how we get out
Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel
Captive Heart
Cobble Cavern
Caller ID
Promises
Protected,
Summer of Secrets
On Little Wings
We Lived in Heaven: Spiritual Accounts of Souls Coming to Earth
Christ's gifts to women
A Woman's power: threads that bind us to god
Scary School
Hope's journey
Blue
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
Venom
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head


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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Penumbras by Braden Bell-Blog Tour Review






Product Details

  • Title: Penumbras(Middle School Magic) A Novel
  • Author; Braden Bell
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (July 9, 2013)
  • Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
  • ISBN-10: 146211220X
  • FTC FYI:I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.







 
 
 

Book Description

July 9, 2013 Middle School Magic: Book 2
 
Conner Dell didn't meant to blow up the school bus.
Or the bathrooms.
In fact, he only wanted to go to sleep and possibly dream about Melanie Stephens.
But explosions had a funny way of happening when Conner and his friends were around.
***
Conner Dell wants to be good--he really does. But he is terrified that he might be turning into a Darkhand, especially when new powers start to surface. What's worse, the Stalker is following Conner, but no one else seems to be able to see him. The Magi think he might be hallucinating, the guilt of what happened in the Shadowbox keeps weighing on him, and his relationship with Melanie Stephens is complicating things. Even for a Magi, Conner knows his life is anything but normal. 
 
Conner, Lexa, and Melanie are back! Just when they think life is normal again, a dangerous shadow creature begins to hunt them. The trio must develop their powers in order to conquer this new peril and protect their school. Filled with action and even more magic, this book continues the exciting adventure in the Middle School Magic series.
 
 
 My Review:
 This series is all about light vs. dark. It is about the light and dark growing in us from the time we are born. Penumbras picks up where The Kindling left off. But we also see how light and dark can become grey at times, thus the name of the title: Penumbras. We get to see the trio learning how to develop their powers in becoming a full Magi.In this second book we also see each of them grow and change a lot, even with many bumps along the way. Lexa seems to have the most bumps in this story. She's very jealous of her twin Conner and his growing relationship with her best friend Melanie. At times you could say she acts like a brat. I read at Braden Bell's blog where he said that book 3 in the series is going to be a redemption for Lexa because of how she acts in book 2. 

I love how there is more in-depth magic in Penumbras. The middle school kids experience more of this new world they've become a part of. The action is kicked up a notch also. The characters seem so true to kids this age. I credit that to the fact that the author is a teacher. Braden knows kids this age and how they think and feel. It brings realism to this story that sometimes is missing in other books. 

If you and your middle grade reader(s) are looking for a book/series full of magic, action, strong characters and teens reflecting on who they really are, you will love The Kindling and Penumbras. I do want to warn you that the ending is exciting and will keep you on the edge, make you cry and of course, leave you with a HUGE cliffhanger. I think authors really love to string us along and keep us waiting with great anticipation for the next book...Braden Bell has done exactly that! 
 
 Meet Author Braden Bell:

Braden Bell grew up in Farmington, Utah and graduated from Davis High School. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theatre from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in educational theatre from New York University. He and his wife, Meredith live  with their five children on a quiet, wooded lot outside of Nashville, Tennessee, where he teaches theatre and music at a private school. An experienced performer, Braden enjoys singing, acting, reading, gardening, and long walks with the dog. 
LINKS:

Penumbras Website (trailers, photos, sample chapters):http://www.bradenbell.com/penumbras.html
Author Twitter: @bradenbellcom

Purchase links:
Note from the author: "I will be selling both Penumbras and The Kindling through my website for a steep discount--$9.99 (plus s/h)"
 
Excerpt from Penumbras...Chapter One
CHAPTER ONE
SHADOW PUPPETS
Conner Dell didn’t mean to blow up the school bus.
Or the bathrooms.
In fact, he only wanted to go to sleep and possibly dream about Melanie Stephens.
But explosions had a funny way of happening when Conner and his friends were around.
It all started on the annual seventh grade science trip to the Sea Lab at Dauphin Island, Alabama. Fifty-four thirteen-year-olds on a five-day field trip. What could go wrong?
Especially when three of them happened to be Magi.
#
For a fraction of a second, Conner thought he saw shadows slithering along the base of the cinderblock walls. Tensing, he blinked and looked again.
Nothing. He was alone in the darkness of his dorm room.
Well, except for his friend and fieldtrip roommate, Pilaf.
                  Across the room, Pilaf disturbed the darkness by turning his flashlight on and digging through a giant floral print suitcase. Fishing a book out, Pilaf hunched over, tucked the flashlight under his chin, and read.
                  “What are you reading?” Conner asked.
                   “Sorry. Did I wake you up?” Pilaf squeaked. “I couldn’t sleep. I guess I slept too much on the bus.”
                  “No worries.” Conner burrowed into his sleeping bag. He didn’t like messing with sheets on these trips. The springs of the ancient bed creaked beneath him. “I’m not sleepy either.” Lexa? Can you hear me? Conner reached out in his thoughts, wondering if his twin sister was awake in her room on the girls’s floor. Head-talking was a cool benefit of being one of the Magi—a secret group of warriors who used the power of Light to battle evil.
No answer from Lexa. Her allergy medicine must have knocked her out.
Melanie? He tried Lexa’s best friend, Melanie Stephens—also one of the Magi-in-training. Conner listened for her response, trying to ignore the backflip in his chest that came when he thought of her. No answer. Melanie had taken something for motion sickness on the bus. She must be knocked out too.
                  Conner jerked up as something skittered across the ceiling right above him. No doubt this time. He grabbed his own flashlight, raking the beam across the ceiling tiles as someone whispered his name.
Coooonnerrrrrr.
                  “What?” Conner pointed his flashlight at Pilaf, who looked up from his book, blinking behind his thick glasses. Pilaf’s blinks always reminded Conner of the way a light on a computer blinked when it processed data.
                  “What?” Pilaf squinted back at him.
                  “Why did you call me?” Conner asked.
                  “I didn’t.” Pilaf looked down at his book.
                  On edge now, Conner lay back down, scanning the room for more shadowy movement, his fingers ready to snap his flashlight back on at any second.
Co-n-n-e-r-r-r-r-r-r D-e-l-l-l-l-l.
                  A whispered, hissing sort of growl sounded in his head as a flicker of movement caught his eye. He whipped his head around in time to see a shadowy tail vanish under Pilaf’s bed. Flipping his flashlight on, he investigated the space under the metal frame.
Nothing there.
                  “What are you doing, Conner?” Pilaf managed to blink and stare at the same time.
Trying to protect you from slithery shadow monsters that could slurp your soul like a slushie, Conner thought. How could he keep the flashlight on without alarming Pilaf? Out loud, he said, “Uh, it’s a game. Flashlight tag. You’re it.” He shined the flashlight at Pilaf.
                  “How do you play?”
                  “Well . . . one person’s it and he shines a flashlight all over the room.”
                  “That’s all?” Pilaf blinked until Conner wondered if he was broadcasting the telephone book in Morse code. “It seems kind of pointless.”
                  “Uh, yeah.” Conner said. “You’re right. Lame. How about shadow puppets?” He slipped his hand in front of the flashlight, wiggling his fingers until the shadow resembled a horse.
                  “Cool!” Pilaf shouted.
                  A knock at the door interrupted them and a tired-looking science teacher poked his head in, glaring beneath tousled red hair. “What’s going on in here?”
                  “Sorry, Mr. Keller,” Pilaf said. “We slept on the bus ride, so we’re not tired. Conner’s making shadows with his hands. Look, a horse!”
“Neeeiiiiggghhh.” Conner threw in sound effects as a special feature.
                  Apparently unimpressed with great art, Mr. Keller frowned. “Get some sleep. We have a full day tomorrow.”
                  “Yes, sir.” Conner swallowed his depression at the thought of a five-day science class. Five days of plankton, ocean salinity, salt marshes, and beach ecology. Five days of science, 24/7. At least they were close to the beach. That might be fun.
                  “Do another one,” Pilaf whispered as the sound of Mr. Keller’s footsteps retreated down the hall.
                  “Okay, but be quiet this time.” Conner opened his fingers, making a snake’s mouth, complete with a flickering tongue.
It seemed so real that Conner thought he heard a hiss. Unsettled, he dropped his hands, but the hissing noise continued, twisting into words.
Co-n-n-e-r-r-r-r-r-r D-e-l-l-l-l-l—
Trying to squash the sound, Conner raised his voice. “Here’s another one.” He cupped his hands on top of each other, stuck his thumb up, and opened his fingers slightly.
“Wow!” Pilaf yelled. “A wolf!” He giggled as Conner opened the mouth and growled. “Little pig, little pig let me come in.” Conner prayed that none of the other seventh-grade boys heard he’d been doing Three Little Pigs shadow plays. That would not be cool.
Co-n-n-e-r-r-r-r-r-r D-e-l-l-l-l-l—
The weird voice came louder. Conner dropped his hands away from the flashlight.
The wolf head stayed there.
Fighting panic, Conner switched the flashlight off, but the wolf head remained, darker than the darkest shadows on the wall.
It stretched and grew bigger, becoming life-sized within seconds. It turned and stared at Conner, a three-dimensional head sticking out of the wall like some kind of freaky hunting souvenir.
The wolf growled, then jumped off the wall, and sailed across the room toward Conner.


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Sheila! I appreciate your review. Sorry about that cliffhanger :) it just had to work that way for several structural reasons, but I did feel a tad guilty. Many thanks!

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