Review: The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly

March 28, 2015 in Book Reviews, Fiction, Middle Grade

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly The Box and the Dragonfly by Ted Sanders
Series: The Keepers #1
Published by Hot Key Books on 5th March 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

From the moment Horace F. Andrews sees the sign from the bus - a sign with his name on it - his whole life changes. It leads Horace to the House of Answers, a mysteriously hidden warehouse full of curious objects and peculiar people, as well as a treasure of his own... a marvellous box, full of wonder and power and magic.

But terrors stalk his city too - shadowy figures who would hurt Horace to steal his remarkable gift. Horace's path is about to become a battleground where nothing is as it seems, and where friendship, loyalty and trust are the greatest powers of all.



In Brief


5 words


Things I liked

* The main characters

* A well rounded story

* Fantastic concepts, well executed


* The glossary at the back

Didn't Like

* At times I found it a little hard to keep up, but that’s just me and my fog-addled brain.

Who Should Read It

* Fans of fantasy.

* Anyone who likes an adventure.

Rest of the series

I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series!

My Thoughts

The Box and the Dragonfly is the first book in The Keepers series. It’s a middle grade book, but don’t let that deter you from picking it up; it’s a brilliant middle grade book!

When I picked up this book I really didn’t know much more than what the blurb and the synopsis on Goodreads said. Honestly I think that was for the best. I had no real idea what I was going in for, I just expected a magical adventure, and that’s what I got…and a whole lot more!

Horace is 12. He’s thoughtful, rational and enjoys science and chess. One day his bus home from school takes a different route from usual, and leads him to see a sign that he’s sure has his name on it. Being the curious boy he is he investigates this sign.

His investigation leads him to a mysterious warehouse, a powerful box and a world he had no idea existed. A group of people known as Wardens, another group known as Rivens and a battle to control/protect mysterious instruments known as Tanu.

There’s so much depth to this story. A whole world of people, instruments and magic that is really thorough, well thought out and very engaging.

There were times in this book when I had nagging doubts over who were actually the “good guys”. There were other times when I could almost feel the creepiness of a certain 4-knuckled character leaping from the book.

There are friendships and parental relationships. There are mysteries, magic and scientific explanations. There’s plotting and scheming. There’s danger and destiny. There’s everything!

Admittedly I found the start rather slow, I think that was just me adjusting to this being a Middle Grade book. Once I got used to the writing style I was off! As for the writing itself, somehow Sanders’ words manage to create the most clear images in my mind. Plus the scientific explanations, which are intrinsic to the story, are put across very clearly.

I definitely recommend it. I know it’s a book I’ll be gifting to the middle-grade readers in my life. I think it’d be a great book to read with your kids, or for them to wander off to read alone. I’m just desperate to get my hands on book two, but I’ll have to wait until next year for that.

One final note for parents – I don’t know if people care about such things, but just in case… there’s a mention of flipping someone off, the words pissey and crap appeared once but I can’t think of anything else that anyone may find “controversial”. An American author using an American style of speech, but I know we Brits can be a bit funny about such things.


Review: Wonder by R.J.Palacio

June 7, 2014 in Fiction, Middle Grade

Review: Wonder by R.J.Palacio Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Genres: Middle Grade, YA
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

You can't blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?


You know when a book is on your radar, as in you are vaguely aware it exists. You would recognise the cover but really you have no idea what it’s about? Well that’s how I was with Wonder. I knew people were loving it, but that’s about as far as my knowledge of the book went.

Then Kirsty started telling me about this amazing book she was reading to her class. Yeup you’ve guessed it, Wonder. Every time I spoke to her this book was mentioned and so I started to think maybe I should be getting in on this! So I bought the book. However I was still deep in my A Song of Ice and Fire re-read and, as I’ve said before, nothing else got a look in for a while.

Then hubby started reading the book. He flew through it, said it was amazing and that I HAD to read it. Well I’ve not long finished it and I have to say it was well worth the hype!

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

The quote above should give you an idea of what this book is about. August is just a normal kid, except his face is deformed. Until now he has been home schooled but his supportive family have persuaded him to start mainstream school. Basically we follow August’s story through his first year at mainstream school.

I really like the way this story is told. The majority of the chapters are written from August’s point of view but there are other chapters in there from characters such as his sister and a boy at school. I think this helps to create a well-rounded story. We see how people close to August feel about his condition, not just how Auggie himself feels.

As you can imagine August has a challenging time when he starts mainstream school. We all know how cruel kids can be. This book not only opens our eyes to bullying but it highlights how it feels to be different too. It’s a really powerful story and as I read it I kept thinking back to my own school days. I thought about those kids that were a bit different and I started to realise how they felt. Auggie represents so many children, and adults, who face a daily struggle for acceptance. There’s a very strong message in this book, you can’t read this book and not be affected.

I was bullied in primary school. It was all rather pathetic to be honest when I look back. None the less it has shaped who I am today. I didn’t ever tell anyone, I just got on with it. I wish I had read something like Wonder at the time. Something to put my woes into perspective. Something to make me realise that a) I wasn’t alone and b) really things could have been much, much worse.

I find myself really grateful to Kirsty for reading this to her class. I feel like it will have sown a seed and made them think. Hopefully it will have helped them to empathise with others and to realise how their actions affect people around them.

I think this is a book that everyone should read, young and old. It’s very easy to read, very engaging and you will find yourself turning page after page losing track of time. It’s said that we should try to walk a mile in the shoes of others. Reading this is maybe like walking a metre, but it’s a powerful metre. It’s a metre that everyone should walk!

We just wanted to share this book with you.

Win a Copy of Dream On, Amber.

March 6, 2014 in Book Reviews, Closed Giveaways, Middle Grade

Today is World Book Day! What better way to celebrate than with the giveaway of newly published Dream On, Amber by Emma Shevah?

Dream On, Amber

Published today, Dream On, Amber is a funny and heart-warming novel about modern-day families, starting school, being mixed-race and celebrating your uniqueness.

Amber is facing up to life without her dad. He left when she was little and isn’t coming back, which is really tough as she could do with him being around right now. So Amber decides to take things into her own hand, to fill the void her father has left. She starts by replying to her little sister’s ‘Dear Dad’ letters, which doesn’t quite work out as she’d planned!

As if the ‘massive black hole’ left by her Dad isn’t challenging enough, Amber now has to face the first day of secondary school. This is no mean feat when you are vertically challenged (Amber is tiny), have an astronomically large name (Amber Alessandra Leola Kimiko Miyamoto – Amber is half-Italian and half-Japanese), and (to top it all off) the not-so-proud owner of a caveman mobile phone.

Without her dad around, Amber is going to have to sort things for herself. Thankfully, she has a BIG imagination…It’s time to dream on, Amber!

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of this fantastic new book simply complete the rafflecopter entry form below (you can do as many as you want, there are no mandatory entries and each option counts as an entry).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dream On, Amber is out today, published by Chicken House and is aimed at the 8-12 year age old bracket.

Thank you to the publisher for providing the prize for this giveaway

Children of the Wild *Giveaway*

January 22, 2013 in Book Reviews, Closed Giveaways, Middle Grade

We all have books that we loved as children and that still hold a place in our hearts….well I certainly do. I remember that feeling as a child of finding a book that resonated with me and captured my imagination. It opens your mind, inspires you to read more and makes you feel great.

Of course it’s quite a while since I was a child now, but I do still enjoy reading what are essentially children’s books. They still give me that warm feeling ….. and thankfully aren’t overly taxing for my fog-addled brain.
Last week I heard about a new book, the first of a trilogy, called Children of the Wild by Giles Milton. I read the blurb and knew that this was something the child in me would love.
Eliza, Maud, Francis and John are embarking on the biggest adventure of their lives. 
They are sailing on a voyage to the New World to claim the land for Queen Elizabeth the First.
But they are in for a big surprise when they reach this unknown and uncharted land. They discover that the New World is already inhabited by native tribes – tribes who view the arrival of the English settlers with alarm.
When all the grown ups mysteriously vanish, the four children are left alone. They have no food and no supplies. Soon, they find themselves locked in a desperate battle for survive.
The book is beautifully written and split into thirteen perfectly balanced chapters. Every part of me wants to launch into describing this book in great detail, but I’m resisting. I really do not want to give away any spoilers in this post.
What I will say though is that large parts of the book are based on historical fact, other parts are things that could perhaps have happened. It’s a book that doesn’t just tell a story, it educates. It promotes awareness of a multicultural world and demonstrates the open-mindedness of children.
This truly is a fantastic read. Just like the books I loved in childhood it captures the imagination and takes you on a journey… a journey that will keep you turning the pages as you are desperate to know what happens next.
I cannot wait for the second book of this trilogy to be released, I hope Giles Milton is currently typing on his computer so that we don’t have to wait too long.
Children of the Wild is published next month, February 2013, with an RRP of £9.99. However here at Rhoda Reviews we are giving readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies of this new release.
To be in with a chance of winning simply complete the rafflecopter entry form below. You can do any number of the entry methods, it’s up to you.
(If it doesn’t appear try refreshing the page)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!!
For more information about this great book visit

A copy of this book was received for consideration. Thank you to the publishers for providing the prizes for this giveaway. As always all opinions posted are entirely our own and completely honest.