Welcome to our blog.

This is our new Mother-Son blog. I am Donna, (Mom), and Lucas is my 13 year old 7th grader. We both love to read and decided to create this blog to write about the books we enjoy. Lucas is very interested in science cannot wait to share his insights about the books he's reading and 7th grade.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Dale E. Basye sends Milton and Marlo to Snivel, the circle reserved for crybabies, for their latest hilarious escapade in Heck. Snivel is a camp—a bummer camp—a dismal place where it's always raining, and Unhappy Campers are besieged by swarms of strange mosquitoes that suck the color right out of them. Soon the Fausters discover that some Unhappy Campers have been disappearing. So after Marlo gets chosen for a special project and never comes back, Milton makes up his mind to find her and all the missing children.

Can Milton find his sister and get the heck out of Snivel? With the help of some new friends, his pet ferret, and Vincent Van Gogh's ear, he just might have a chance.


What a fun book.  All the Circle of Heck books just keep getting better.  This installment has the Fausters in a bizarre summer camp called Snivel..The summer camp from Heck.  During their time at this 'camp' strange things happen.  Milton and Marlo are up to their eyes with strange things in this story...

Lucas here, Just an update. My class is now reading The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow. It's an awesome book. It had made it's way throughout the 5 grade at my school. Be on the lookout for our class review of the book. So far all the kids are loving the book. My favorite character is BROCKET THE ROCKET!!!

to authors 
Jessica Haight
Stephanie Robinson

for donating 4 copies of the book to our school.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


received from NetGalley for review
published by
Bloomsbury USA

synopsis (goodreads)
In Abby’s world, magic isn’t anything special: it’s a part of everyday life. So when Abby learns that she has zero magical abilities, she’s branded an “Ord”—ordinary, bad luck, and quite possibly a danger to society.

The outlook for kids like Abby isn’t bright. Many are cast out by their families, while others are sold to treasure hunters (ordinary kids are impervious to spells and enchantments). Luckily for Abby, her family enrolls her in a school that teaches ordinary kids how to get around in a magical world. But with treasure-hunting kidnappers and carnivorous goblins lurking around every corner, Abby’s biggest problem may not be learning how to be ordinary—it’s whether or not she’s going to survive the school year!

(by Mom and Lucas)

Imagine a world where muggles are the exception and not the rule!

12 year old Abby lives in a world where having magical  ability is normal.  Without it, you are labeled an 'ord'. An Ordinary person. Lower class.  Abby's siblings are all older and very proficient with magic, but when she is tested...nothing...zip...no magic ability at all.   Bad news for Abby.  Some kids are shunned by their families if they aren't magical, imagine that?   

Abby is sent to a school where she can learn to get by and function is a magical world without magic.  Unfortunately for her, she is in danger.  Treasure hunters try to kidnap Ord kids because they are immune to magical charms.  They can get past the magical dangers.

What a fun book! Great scenes both with and without magic.  It has both a modern and an old world feel about it.  Abby is a great character.

This is an amazing middle grade novel that will be loved by fans of magic and Harry Potter.

from Lucas:  I think both boys and girls will like this book.  I liked Harry Potter but I like this more.  I think I would like a friend like Abby.  Look for this book in your school library, or get it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  You'll be happy you read it!

Monday, May 14, 2012


and be sure to check out 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Karen Pokras Toz

The book features the continued adventures of Nate Rocks.  He has to go to summer camp (yuck) with his friends (yay!!) and his sister (double yuck).  He has many new adventures while at camp, some are imagined but most are real.  

(I gave the book 5+ ice cream cones)

Today’s guest is 10-year-old Nathan Rockledge, star of award winning children’s novel, Nate Rocks the World  and newly released Nate Rocks the Boat.  Thanks so much for joining us today Nathan!

LUCAS:  So Nate - what do you want to be when you grow up? 

NATE: I really want to be a comic book artist. I think I’m pretty good at it, and I love making up stories. I’ve actually done a few already. Maybe one day I’ll show them to you. Abby says they’re dumb, but I think they are cool.

LUCAS: Speaking of your sister, do you two ever get along?

NATE: Sometimes she’s okay... I guess. Most of the time I just try to stay out of her way. She’s always in some kind of a mood – Mom says it’s just a phase, but so far this phase has been lasting as long as I can remember. Older sisters can definitely be a pain sometimes. I was hoping to be able to spend the summer without her around, but as it turns out Mom & Dad are sending us both to the same summer camp! I mean can you believe that? Of all the thousands  - maybe millions – of camps, you’d think they could send her somewhere different. 

LUCAS: Well, maybe you won’t see too much of her. I hear summer camp is a lot of fun. Are you looking forward to it?

NATE: I wasn’t at first. But then I realized I wouldn’t have eat Mom’s cooking for six whole weeks! Not only that, but I convinced my best friend Tommy to come along with me. I think it’s going to be lots of fun (and filling.)

LUCAS: What do you mean? You don’t eat good meals at your own house?

NATE: Apparently you’ve never had my mom’s cooking! She tries and all, but no matter what she makes, there’s always something not quite right about it. Last night we had hotdogs. Easy right? Wrong! I had to chew each piece at least 100 times just to swallow it. Dad must be used to it or something because he never complains about mom’s cooking.

LUCAS: So your Dad is pretty easy going?

NATE: Dad? Yeah mostly. He works a lot, but don’t ask me what he does – it has something to do with numbers and data. I used to try to ask him about it, but no matter what you ask Dad, he always ends up telling some story from his childhood that you’ve heard a million times already.  I’m expecting to hear his summer camp stories about a gazillion times this summer.

LUCAS: Getting back to your comics - where do you like to draw?

NATE: Anywhere really – just as long as I have a pencil and a piece of paper. Sometimes I get in trouble because I’m supposed to be doing something else, but I just can’t help myself. Once I get started; I just get lost in what I’m doing. 

LUCAS: Do you get in trouble a lot?

NATE: Not a lot, but I have to be careful in school. There is this one girl named Lisa Crane, and she is so annoying. Her mom and my mom are best friends. One day I got in trouble for drawing in school when we were supposed to be taking a spelling test. Do you know what Lisa did? She went right home and told her mom, who of course called my mom. I mean – who does that?

LUCAS: Well at least you get the summer a way from Lisa.

NATE: Thank goodness! I do have to see her one more time though. Mom and Dad are throwing a big going away party for Abby and me before we leave for camp, and guess who is invited? Ugh.  If I can just avoid her for the day, then I won’t have to think about Lisa Crane again all summer!

LUCAS: Sounds like everyday is an adventure for you.

NATE: I guess it is. Being ten is kind of cool actually. 

LUCAS: Nate – thanks so much for letting me interview you. You really do ROCK!


With fourth grade finally winding down, 10-year-old Nathan Rockledge is looking forward to a fun and relaxing summer at home with his friends. That is, until his mom decides he has to go to overnight camp with his annoying older sister.  When his best friend Tommy decides to tag along, Nathan thinks maybe his summer won’t actually be so bad. After all, he does get to be away from his mom's awful cooking for an entire six weeks.

Amongst Color War competitions, a flaky counselor, and a bully named "No-Neck,” Nathan turns to his trusty sketchpad, transforming himself into Nate Rocks: 10-year-old extraordinaire. His speedboat ready for action, Nate saves the day time and again from the perils of floods, snakes, ghosts, and even the most wanted criminals.

Join Nathan, Tommy, Abby, and a whole new cast of characters as Nate Rocks once again proves nothing can hold him back in this second book of the Nate Rocks series.


“Welcome, Hawks. I’m Matt, your counselor. I’ve been coming to Camp Spring Ridge every summer since I was your age. This is a great place, and it’s my job to make sure you boys have the best summer ever.” Matt looks up at the sky as the wind rustles through the papers on his clipboard. “Now, before it starts raining, let’s see if we can get through some of the camp rules.”

“Rules? We don’t need any dumb rules! It’s summer!”

I look over toward the sound of the husky voice to see a boy who looks more like he’s Abby’s age than my age. He also appears to have arms as big as my thighs and no-neck. I’ve never seen anyone without a neck before. I’m sure it’s there somewhere. It’s just that this kid’s head is enormous. I am in the right bunk aren’t I?

Matt doesn’t seem disturbed by the outburst as he continues right along. “The rules are only there to make sure you have the most fun possible while staying safe. We wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt...or worse.”

Worse?! Tommy and I look at each other. I turn around to scan the dirt road. Dad must still be at Abby’s bunk. If I left right now and ran, I could probably get there before he and Mom leave. I’m sure Mom would take me with her to see Grandma once I explained about how dangerous it is here at camp. She’s always saying we don’t get to visit with Grandma enough. Or I could just stay at Tommy’s house. I’m certain Tommy would follow me if I took off running. But what if they were already gone? Then I would have to return to my bunk. I could already hear the other kids laughing at me as the camp director returned me to the Hawks.

“Okay,” Matt starts, holding down the paper on his clipboard. “Rule #1: Always listen to your counselor—he’s the coolest guy here.” Matt starts laughing, but quickly notices no one else joins in. He clears his throat and continues. “Rule #2: Stay with your bunk at all times unless you have specific permission to go somewhere. Rule #3: Lights out at 10:00pm. Rule #4: When it’s our turn to have kitchen duty, everyone must participate, and the most important rule—Rule #5: Stay out of the forest! Look, you guys are old enough to hear this, so I’m just going to tell it to you straight. The forest may look cool, but it’s big and dangerous. Every summer, one or two campers decide to wander in there, and the same thing always happens. They get lost. The camp has to call in a search party with dogs and the whole bit. If you wander too far in, you might run across snakes or even coyotes and wolves. So do yourselves a favor and stay out!”

I look around the table to see everyone staring at Matt... even No-Neck.


Karen Pokras Toz is a writer, wife and mom. Karen grew up in Orange, Connecticut and currently lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. In June 2011, Karen published her first middle grade children’s novel for 7-12 year olds called Nate Rocks the World, followed in 2012 by the second book in the Nate Rocks series, Nate Rocks the Boat. Karen is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). 


Website:  www.karentoz.com
Barnes & Noble: 

by the way, if you want to read a review of the book (5 ice cream cones again) go to Mom's blogsite at http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Usually when I read a book series, subsequent books aren't quite as good as the first.  Well, I'm happy to say that's not the case with THE IMPOSSIBLE ENGINEERS.  It happens to be EVEN BETTER than the Doorknob Society.  We learn more about the characters, a lot more.  They are now like old friends. I wasn't so sure about Chloe in the first book, now I want her for my best friend!  Team Nightshade or Team Slade?  I'm glad I picked the right team.  Edgar is still my favorite.  We are introduced to a few new characters in this installment.  Faith, Jasper, Gavin and of course, Talia Grimm-Masters.   The book just flows..  It's easy to read and a perfect continuation of book one.  Action packed from the beginning right through to the end.   Only, it's not an end.  What society group is featured in the next book?  Hmmm...I can't wait to read the next book.   

MJ Fletcher has created an amazing series with fabulous characters and situations.  Remember while you are reading, these are high schoolers.  Just kids really.  I found myself glued to the pages of the book.  Couldn't put it down, I was too afraid I would miss something.  I reread pages over and over to see if I missed clues about certain people.   

I look forward to the rest of the books.  I give this book 5 stars..and recommend you read The Doorknob Society and The Impossible Engineers.