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Read reviews on a great book for teens

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

* The Blue Umbrella: Review and Giveaway!!! *

*This book was given as a complimentary copy to Mama Buzz Reviewers by David C. Cook and Mike Mason, for blog tour and promotion purposes.

The Blue Umbrella: retails for $14.99

Ages 9-12

Enjoy a free excerpt of this book at Mike Mason's website.

The Blue Umbrella, by Mike Mason from David C. Cook on Vimeo.

Melissa J's Thoughts:

The Blue Umbrella made me feel restless in the first half. Disturbed almost. The kind of disturbed I had when I read the Lemony Snicket books (which by the way, was for research purposes, not for pleasure reading). It was as if the evil villains in the book had almost a sexually-overtoned sadistic issue going on.

For example, when Zac, the boy in the book, is given a beating with a cane, he is supposed to ask, "May I please have another one?" after each one. Later, one of the "aunties" canes her equal-peered sister and the sister too, must ask, "Please, may I have another one?" This to me, was almost like a sexual-bondage overtone and made me feel. . . weird.

It also made me think, "This is not a book for a 9 year old to read!"

That being said, in the second half of the book, as puzzle pieces began to fall into place, the book made more sense, as did the strange evil that the characters lived with and by the time I turned the last page, I decided it was a book that I liked. It is not, however, a book I would recommend to parents of 9 year olds. More along the 13-15 year old age bracket--maybe. And even then, as a conservative Christian parent, I would take the opportunity to discuss what, yes, even my teen was reading, should they read it.

For those who are used to the sexually overtoned evil of Lemony Snicket or the darkness of Harry Potter and have no issues with those books, then The Blue Umbrella will not be an issue--though perhaps it should be as I believe parents need to be sensitive to their child's reading material.

I look forward to future books, both as a reader, as well as a parent and an individual who works with teens. I am curious to see what Mike Mason will deliver in future writing to this age bracket.

Mel's Thoughts:
The Blue Umbrella is a story full of imagination and mystery.  It's full of characters that, at first, are hard to understand, but as you move through the story you begin to understand what is going on.  As I was reading last night, I was about halfway through the story, and the mystery began to click, and I figured out exactly what was going on. 

Zac is a young boy who has just lost his mother to a lightning strike.  He is taken by his Aunties to live in the small town of Five Corners, where colorful characters abound.  As Zac enters their world, he begins to notice that not everything is as it should be.  Auntie Pris and Auntie Esmerelda are very cruel to him, even beating him with their magical cane, which seems to have a sickening effect on Zac's health and soul.  He ends up befriending Butler and Sky Porter, the storekeeper across the street, along with the Reverend's children, and as he does, he begins to unravel the mystery behind Five Corners.  As he struggles to fight off the Aunties and their terrible Dada, the story gains suspense.

Personally, I struggled to get into this story.  It seemed like the same things just kept happening over and over throughout the first half of the book, and then finally, the real action began.  This story is meant for kids, probably older kids, but I'm not sure I would want Jacob reading it yet.  The magic in the story doesn't phase me; I'm fine with him reading stories that work his imagination, of course, depending on what kind of story it is.  I think it's more the pervasive evil of the Aunties and Dada that gets me....it might be necessary to describe Zac's beatings and the horrible way in which the Aunties die, but I just think it's a story better suited for when Jacob gets older, as in young adult.  I'm also not so sure it would keep his attention in the first half of the book.  It doesn't seem to show the story so much as tell it without a lot of dialogue in the beginning.  I do have to say, though, that once I got into the story, I wanted to keep reading to see exactly what happened in the end. 

The book is priced at $14.99 and is available on David C. Cook.   You can also read more about the book, read an excerpt from it, and see inside of it on Mike Mason Books

(Disclosure: We were provided with this free book by David C. Cook & Mike Mason, in association with MamaBuzz.)

We have a copy of this book to give away. Simply leave a comment - with your email - and you will be entered into our giveaway drawing. Giveaway ends on November 7th, with the winner announced on November 9th.


ruth stiles October 28, 2009 at 12:09 PM  

this book would be a great gift for one of my girls in my Sunday school class. my e-mail address is hunting1981@gmail.com

Winning Readings October 29, 2009 at 7:08 PM  

Count me in on the giveaway - I'm giving away my copy and would love another to give away, too!

And we posted about this at Winning Readings: http://winningreadings.blogspot.com/2009/10/blue-umbrella.html

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

The Proverbs Wife October 29, 2009 at 7:35 PM  

I am really enjoying all of the book reviews and giveaways. Please add my name to the drawing.


Serena October 30, 2009 at 1:16 AM  

Hm, well, I think this sounds interesting! ;) I'd like to give it a gander!

plb8156 October 30, 2009 at 7:35 PM  

This sounds like the kind of book that my son would want to read...please enter me :)

Lady Araujo October 31, 2009 at 9:48 AM  

I'd love to be entered in your drawing.


Carol M November 1, 2009 at 12:41 PM  

My granddaughter would love this book! Thank you!
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Anonymous November 5, 2009 at 12:52 PM  

my daughter would love to read this book! fulfam@hotmail.com

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