Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Second Really Good Book of the Summer (Which Is Also a Second Book!)

Hey, guys, summer is still going on and we have been really busy this year! The Iron Guy has been as busy as a bumblebee after an explosion in a honey factory, so I'm going to give you a quick post today. It's about Quest Maker, the second book in Laurie McKay's terrific The Last Dragon Charmer trilogy. I really enjoyed this!

Prince Caden, eighth-born son of King Axel of Razzon in the Greater Realms, is still stuck in Asheville, North Carolina after being pulled into our world by a mysterious spell. So is Rath Dunn, the most dangerous villain in the Greater Realms, who's been banished here along with a group of other villains who are ruled over (at least for now!) by a powerful Elderdragon. It would take too long to summarize the story, so let me say briefly that the book opes with a bang--literally! A bolt of red lightning appears and from it appears the last person Caden would ever suspect. After this, Caden is given a quest by the Elderdragon. If he fails he'll be eaten! On top of this, the science room at his school blows up in a cloud of green (and stinky!) gas. There's an attack by an enormous swarm of bees. Who's behind all this? Could Caden complete his quest on time? And what is Rath Dunn up to in all this? The answer turns out to be worse for the Greater Realms and Asheville than anyone imagined!

Man, this book really was terrific! There's a lot of mysterious things going on, a lot of creepy villains, a lot of tension among the main characters and a lot of exciting action in the end when everything breaks loose! As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to like this book, so go and check it out! Actually, go and check the first one out (see my review here) and this one and the third one. Maybe, if you're not as busy as I am, you could spend an afternoon or a day or a couple of days reading them back to back to back. I couldn't think of a better way to spend some time this summer!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Really Good Quick Reads About Sports!

Hooo--eeee! This has been the busiest summer that the Iron Guy can remember. Things have been moving faster around here than the Millennium Falcon in hyperdrive. That's why I haven't posted anything lately. Fortunately, there are some really good, short and interesting books out there--what I call Good Quick Reads--and I have a few for you. Plus, in keeping with my Manly resolution for this year, they're about sports! How could it be any better?

The first is The Carolina Panthers Story, one in a new set of books about NFL teams. (sorry, but there's no picture of the cover) It's short, has lot of photos, a glossary of football terms, a website to learn more about each team, recommended books about each team and information the team's about great players, its history and even what the fans are like! There's a lot of good stuff here but not a lot of text (a fancy grownup term for the amount of words on a page), so these books would be good for younger reader guys, especially third or even second graders. It's good, it's quick and it's very interesting, even for this Charlotte guy who's followed the team from the beginning. I also read The Seattle Seahawks Story, The San Diego Chargers Story, The Jacksonville Jaguars Story, and the Atlanta Falcons Story. (booo! to the Dirty Birds, the big rival to the Panthers)

All these books follow the same format and, what's even better, the information is current! (another fancy grownup word which means "actually up-to-date and not 20 years old") Sports books are great but the problem is that things change so fast in the sports world that, by the time a book comes out, a team star could have left, a major player got traded or the whole team could have moved to another city! These books came out this year, so the information really is current. So that means you should run right out the door and get these books now. (PS--all the NFL teams are covered in this series, so if you have a favorite team or want to learn about one you didn't know about, there will be a book for you)

The second is The Best NFL Quarterbacks of All Time by Natt Scheff. Hmmm, this sounds like a title that could stir up a bunch of arguments! Well, this book provides a reasons why these guys really could be considered the best. It talks about 14 great quarterbacks, all the way from Otto Graham in the 1950's to Terry Bradshaw to Steve Young to Brett Farve down to Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Each section is only 4 pages but gives lots of good information about why each guy was great. For instance, who was the quarterback that was a 17-round draft pick but went on to win the first two Super Bowls? Who was called "Captain Comeback" and why did he earn that name? And why was Warren Moon, who never won a Super Bowl, so important to the game and many of today's quarterbacks? It's a very good read and there is also a recommended site, a glossary, recommended books and a list of quarterbacks who didn't make the list but are Honorable Mentions. (Will Cam Newton make the list one day? We'll see!) Go get this book too. You'll really enjoy it and will have plenty of info when someone asks, "Who really were the greatest?"

Thursday, July 6, 2017

First Really Good Book of the Summer!

Wow, guys, it's hard to believe that we're into July already! It seems that school let out just a couple of days ago. At least it does to me. This has been a very busy summer here at the library, which is good. That means more guys are checking out more books!
Normally, I'd write about the glories of summer at this time of year but, as I said, I'm very busy, so I'll jump right into the latest review. This book is a real winner and it takes place, when not in the magical realms, right here in North Carolina!

The book is Villain Keeper, the first book in The Last Dragon Charmer trilogy by Laurie McKay. It's one of those fantasies in which someone from another realm gets pulled into our world--but with a few mysteries and surprises thrown in.
Caden, eighth son of King Axel of Razzon in the Greater Realms, gets woken up by his father in the middle of the night and told it's time to go on his dragon quest. That's unusual because princes usually have days to prepare before their quests but Caden is eager to prove himself and takes off. And he does spot a dragon and is about to charge on his mighty Galvanian stallion when the ground around him suddenly turns the dark red of dark magic and he is sucked into another world. Fortunately, he and Sir Horace, his horse are safe but he finds himself in a strange city called Asheville. And they find that Brynne, a girl he grew up with who is also a sorceress, is there too. Also fortunately, a sympathetic policeman finds Caden (after Brynne and Sir Horace hide) and puts him in the care of a tough but compassionate foster mother--which keeps Caden out of the mental hospital when he insists that he's a prince on a dragon quest!
To keep from going on much longer, I'll say that Caden goes to school with Tito, one of the other foster kids but finds out things are much stranger at this school than he suspects. Is the school really a place of banishment for villains from his world? What happened to the Asheville girl who disappeared from the foster home the week before? How can Brynne make a school door explode through a cell phone? And just who is the vice-principal and why are all the villains afraid of her?

This is a really good read, boys! Not only is there magic, not only are there mysteries, there are fights with dragons (yes, they show up in our world!) and close encounters with silky-smooth and deadly villains. And there are flashes of humor, too. Just wait until you find out why Caden is terrified of being grounded or his reaction when he sees "geometric meats" for the first time. It's a great book for fantasy lovers or anyone who just plain loves a good story. I've got books 2 and 3 checked out and can't wait to start them!

PS--Asheville is a beautiful town. If there's any place in North Carolina that magic would live, this would be it! (and it's only 120 miles from Charlotte)

PPS--I first heard about this book on Ms. Yingling Reads, a truly cool blog. Thanks, Ms. Yingling!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

One More List

The great Ms. Yingling
Hey, reader guys all over this land, the Iron Guy is pleased to present to you, in honor of this blog's 10th anniversary, one more list of books that guys would like. This list, however, comes from our good friend Ms. Yingling, a middle school librarian up in Ohio. She has been a good friend to this blog almost from the beginning and has recommended so many good reads that I couldn't begin to remember them all. She also runs a very cool blog that features a Guy Friday. She is so great, in fact, that the Iron Guy gave her the highest award he could possibly give and made her an Honorary Guy. (which gives her the right to make obnoxious noises at sporting events, crack all the dumb jokes she wants and eat insane amounts of food with no nutritional value)
Anyway, I asked if she would send me a list of books boys would like and this is it:

John David Anderson. Keep an eye on this author, who seems to be trying his hand at every genre there is. From the sad but funny Ms. Bixby's Last Day to the video game inspired Insert Coin to Continue, he never disappoints. 

Tom Greenwald. Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading series, plus his other titles. I also really liked his newest book, The Real Us. 

Thatcher Heldring. For sports books, I like all of Thatcher's books, especially the recently released The Football Girl. What would YOU do if your girlfriend was trying out for YOUR football team? 

Anthony Horowitz- Stormbreaker, especially since book 11, Never Say Die, is coming out in October. 

David Lubar. From Lawn Weenies to Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie, Lubar has something for boys of all ages. The added bonus is that adults don't seem to like his stuff, so it must be good!

Chirs Lynch. Chris has been writing for a long time, and his WWII and Vietnam series are filled with riveting details of military combat. 

Dan Poblocki. My new go to for scary ghost stories. The House on Stone Throw's Island even has evil Nazi ghosts!

Darren Shan. Cirque du Freak. While this series has been out for a while, it's still popular because it has great fights between the vampires and the evil vampaneze. Shan also has the great Zom-B series. 

Jordan Sonnenblick. For really fantastic writing style that is also guaranteed to make you snort through your nose with laughter, you don't have to go any further than Zen and the Art of Faking It or Notes from the Midnight Driver. 

All right! Thanks, Ms Yingling! This is a great list and I know boys will like them. (please keep in mind, guys, that Ms. Yingling is a middle school librarian and some of these authors write both kids' and Young Adult fiction) Have any of you boys read any of these? Have you enjoyed them? Then write in and let us know. Both the Iron Guy and the Honorary Guy will thank you!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Most Memorable Books From the Last 10 Years--Part Two

OK, guys, you've seen Part One. Here is another list. Since there are so many, I'm simply going to list them without any comments and I'll put them into three categories. Look them up; our library system has plenty. If you want to learn more about them, check out the Labels section under this post. As I said in the last post, these may not necessarily be the best but they are what has impressed the Iron Guy the most over the last 10 years. (and, yes, other reader guys have enjoyed them as well!)

Most Memorable Nonfiction

The Boys in the Boat

Stubby the War Dog

Lincoln: A Photobiography

Howard Bryant's Legends books

The Last River

Most Memorable Graphic Novels

The Bone series

The Fangbone series

The Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series

The Lunch Lady series


Big Nate

The Alvin Ho series

The Brixton Brothers series

The Boys vs Girls series

The audiobook version of Science Fair

OK, once again, what do you think of this list? Do you agree this is a truly awesome list that should be remembered for the next 1000 years or is it the most bogus list ever assembled? And did I leave anything out? (Like the Wimpy Kid? There a good reason for that too)

Write in and let me know what you think! Hopefully, there are a few of your favorites in here. And if not, maybe you'll find something that will become a new favorite of yours!