Tag Archives: codes

York #1: The Shadow Cipher (Laura Ruby)

26 Jul

Codes, ciphers, secrets?  Count me in!  If you want an adventure that requires a bit of thinking and a lot of running, you’ll definitely want to pick up Laura Ruby’s York: The Shadow Cipher.

 

York 1 - Shadow Cipher

Squinklethoughts

1.  I have been waiting and waiting for the next great puzzle adventure, and I’m glad that it is the York series.  We love The 39 Clues (by various authors) and The Copernicus Legacy (by Tony Abbott), and now, we’ve got York to add to the list.

2.  I’m not a fan of time-travelling stories, but I LOVE stories where people in the past leave clues for folk in the future.  In 1798, Tess and Theodore Morningstarr begin their work of revamping New York City using mysterious technology that is super avant-garde.  Just before they disappear, they leave behind a puzzle called the Old York Cipher.  How cool is that?  If you like stories with advanced technology, you’ll love all the gizmos and gadgets in this one.

3.  Fast forward to the present day, and Tess and Theo Biedermann, along with their friend, Jaime Cruz, go all around the city, trying to solve the puzzle that no one has been able to solve since the Morningstarrs bequeathed it to NYC.  And for them, it’s not a matter of just getting the right answer … because solving the puzzle could mean saving their homes.  I love it when characters are tasked with impossible tasks.

4.  The twins are great in this story.  They don’t always get along; in fact, they often get on each other’s nerves.  I like that Ruby decided not to have twins who are completely in synch with one another.  This way, there’s more excitement.  And since this is only the beginning of the series, I do wonder if Ruby will make her readers gasp by … separating the twins at some point.  Oh, boy, would that be fun to read.

5.  Jaime’s story is one I definitely want to know more about.  Ruby’s given us bits and pieces, but I want more.  His and his grandmother’s close relationship is very enviable, and, I think, a great, calming force in the story.

6.  Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character, which makes for an interesting read.  In the beginning, I had to flip back to the first pages of the chapters to remind myself who was narrating, but you get used to it.  It’s a great way to get to know more about the characters through what they want you to know about them.

7.  This is an excellent book for school and classroom libraries.  I will probably be adding this to my curriculum next year, so check back to see the questions and activities I create!

 

4.5 Squinkles

 

Laura Ruby’s Online Corners
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Thank you, HarperCollins and Walden Pond Press, for sending me a copy of York 1: The Shadow Cipher in exchange for an honest review.

All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are entirely my own.

Bookcation 2015 #11: The Blackthorn Key

14 Aug

Squinks, Squinks, Squinks!  I can’t wait to share my thoughts on Kevin Sands’ first novel, the Blackthorn Key … but I have to exercise what little patience I have because SOME of you haven’t finished reading it yet.  And although my reviews are always spoiler free, I don’t want to inadvertently tell you that the ending is GREAT.

 

Blackthorn Key  

For those of you “lucky” enough to be spending your summer away from school – though you’re actually rather UNLUCKY for not spending seven weeks talking about myths and legends and stories and books – you really need to pick up the Blackthorn Key when it pubs in September.  In fact, that should be Assignment #1 for the new school year.

Anyhoo, I’ll be back in a little bit to share my thoughts about this rockin’ novel, and some of my Squinks will also be sharing theirs.  We’re about to start on a book-related project, so hopefully, you’ll be treated to some really cool entries from my Summer-School Squinks.  ‘Til then … go pre-order the Blackthorn Key.  You might as well since you’re going to end up wanting to buy it anyway.

A-to-Z Extra: The 39 Clues Series

27 Apr

Since there are four more days left in April, I decided to include four more A-to-Zs to round off what’s been a pretty successful month of posting for me.  Let me tell you: I didn’t have terribly high hopes for managing to post every single day, let alone being able to come up with a little rhyme for each of the highlighted novels.  I’m pleasantly surprised that I’ve been able to juggle all of this along with lesson planning, test scoring, and all the general delights that greet me on a regular basis.

If you stumbled upon this blog thanks to one of my A-to-Zs, I hope you found a little something of interest to you.  Thanks to those who’ve liked these pages and for everyone who’s stopped me in the hallways to say a kind word or two about a particular post you enjoyed.  More importantly, I hope you’ve found a few suggestions about books to add to your TBR lists!

And now, without further ado, here’s the first of my A-to-Z extras …

Extra #1 is the utterly fantastic the 39 Clues series.  When I first stumbled upon these books, I decided NOT to read them.  I saw the first title, The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan, admired the cover, and moved on.  With the second book, One False Note by a favourite childhood author, Gordon Korman, I once again praised the cover, memorized the blurb, and walked away.  I did this up until the seventh installment, The Viper’s Nest by Peter Lerangis, when I could take it no more.  I bought all the titles in one fell swoop and pre-ordered the remaining three.  You see, I knew from the get-go that I was going to love this series, and since I’m a very fast reader, I didn’t want to be left hanging at the end of the books.  I, therefore, decided to wait until all the books had come out before I dove into the series.  Well, the best-laid plans … It was an interminable wait until the tenth book finally came – Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

 

0 - Extra - 39 Clues

 

Which of the first set of books (there are two spin-off series now!) are your favourites?  I’ve got a particular fondness for Books 4 and 5 – Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson, and The Black Circle by Patrick Carman, respectively.  I’ve always enjoyed reading about Egypt and Russia.

More importantly, however, which branch are you in?  I used to be an Ekat, but no spoilers here …

A to Z: D is for A Desperate Fortune

4 Apr

D is for A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley.  I was so disappointed to have missed Kearsley at OLASC15.  She had a signing, and it would have been lovely to meet her.  I love codes and ciphers, which is why this is on my TBR list.  I hope I get my copy signed someday!

 

D - Desperate Fortune

 

Have you read A Desperate Fortune yet?  What did you think of it?

The 39 Clues: Unstoppable, Book 1: Nowhere to Run (Jude Watson)

25 Jun

39 Clues - Nowhere to RunWe’ve got some new Cahills in the house! And even you lot that were reluctant to get into the madhouse that is the 39 Clues, aren’t you glad you took the plunge? Now, I won’t spoil the secrets for you here since I know there are still some of you ploughing your way through the first series, but let me just say how thrilled I am que vous avez adopté cette merveilleuse série! This is one of my all-time faves because j’adore l’histoire, la géographie, l’aventure, et les mystères … and, of course, you know me and codes! Remember: don’t cheat! No looking up how to solve the codes in the books or on the cards posted on the classroom walls. Just enjoy the ride!

In case you thought Watson’s name was familiar, you were right!  Jude Watson is also the author of the following books in the 39 Clues series: Beyond the Grave, In Too Deep, and A King’s Ransom, as well as a story in Vesper’s Rising.  Oh yeah, and like all Cahills, Jude Watson is not really Jude Watson.  I mean, she is, but she is also Judy Blundell.  Don’t you just love the Cahill family?

 

 

Jude Watson’s Online Corners

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