Guest book review: Privateer’s Apprentice

Privateer’s Apprentice by Susan Verrico is a great pirate story for young readers. Reading level is 6-8 graders, but this would also be a great “read-aloud” book for younger ages.

Jameson is the son of a printer who is swindled out of his inheritance because of his parents’ death and is forced to live on the street. When he is wrongly accused of stealing bread, he is forced into slavery for a baker. But that’s not where his trials end. One late night he is kidnapped by a crewman on the dreaded Attack Jack’s ship. Although the ship is under Queen Anne’s control, battle against Spanish ships through treacherous waters cause the crew to be more ruthless than most British Military. When Attack Jack learns Jameson can write and draw maps, he enlists him to help chart lands for Queen Anne.

After one particularly brutal battle, the hungry and injured crew take refuge at Crossed Island, a dangerous place where wild boar and other animals threaten to end their lives. The island has another secret…a cave that holds secrets only the Captain and his right hand man, Solitaire Peep know about.

When they return to Jameson’s home port, Charles Towne, the Captain is wrongfully accused of treason and will hang…unless Jameson and his crew can figure out how to free him without getting caught.

This is a fun adventure story that kids of all ages can enjoy. If they like ocean voyage and pirate themes, they will love it. Ninety percent of the book takes place aboard ship and there are great side characters to enjoy such as Gunther, who is a threat to Jameson throughout; the cook, who helps him out; and Jabbart, his unlikely comrade.

The violence is light, pirate-like ship combat and a little slavery content. There is also talk of beheading slaves because of their crimes, but I would still rate this less violent than most video games and TV for youngsters. This is definitely on the lighter side of PG.

As an adult, I found the end of the book unfinished and would like to see the story continue, but I can find no information about a new book coming. There is certainly a need to continue this tale and allow Jameson the chance to reclaim his destiny.

Overall, I think this is a great gate-way book to get your little pirates-in-training started.

Review by Emerian Rich


Spotlight On: Mama Says, “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!

Mama Says, “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!

Globe Newswire reports that Dr. Iris Mack’s mathematics edutainment book is “turning heads across the country in a response similar to the widely promoted ‘Hooked on Phonics,’ that improved children’s reading skills.” Her unique approach to math became one of Xlibris/Random House Publisher’s top children’s picture book royalty earners.

If there is one word that sums up our recent economic woes, it is interest. There’s interest on credit card balances, student loans, car loans, home mortgages, corporate borrowings and most prominently, on state and national debt. But there is surprisingly little interest in this interest. We all pay it. But not many of us really understand how it works. Dr. Iris Mack has filled the gap – and for young consumers.

Her financial literacy book “Mama Says Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!” is focused on teaching students that math can be fun and key to understanding money and interest. In today’s world of subprime mortgage crises, bankruptcies, massive credit card debt and predatory lending, Dr. Mack’s book is more relevant than ever. In “Mama Says Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!” a group of smart, animated characters explain how money and interest work, as young consumers are introduced to mathematics and financial literacy.

Professor Ø, Ms. Madonna Sorenson and Dr. Mackamatix lead students Al G Bro, Frakshun, Nada, Queen% and Material Girl Ma$ through a fun-filled math class all about how money and interest work in their everyday lives.

Learn more: MathQED TV

Praise for this book:

“I think the work you do showing how math can be beautiful and practical is great, keep it up!” says Javier Tordable, Senior Software Engineer at the Google Corporation.

“Making math fun and relevant is a real public service. Old fashioned, boring textbooks aren’t the thing that will capture the imagination and engage our children in the fun and yes, joy, in math and problem solving. Iris Mack has created a group of characters and scenarios that will draw young people into the fold of knowledge.” says Karen Pritzker– Producer of The My Hero Project and Editor of The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity website.

Buy the Book:  Amazon

Author’s Bio:

Iris Marie Mack, PhD, EMBA, earned a doctorate in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University. She was also awarded a Sloan Fellowship Executive MBA from the London Business School. Dr. Mack worked at various energy and financial institutions, acted as a faculty member at MIT, and worked at NASA and AT&T Bell Labs – where she obtained a patent for research on optical fibers.

Dr. Mack currently lectures on Energy Trading and Risk Management for the Fitch Learning Certificate in Quantitative Finance Program on Wall Street and at Tulane University. Because of Dr. Mack’s extensive knowledge of the derivatives, energy trading, and investment banking world, she has been invited to write opinion columns for the UK edition of the International Business Times.

Dr. Mack has also been named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 Working Women, and she is no novice writer. This publishing will be her third financially-focused and published book – including her energy trading book published with Wiley Finance and a financial literacy book for teens and adults. With this breadth of experience and sheer intellectual prowess, Dr. Mack is more than able to help readers reach the financial stability they deserve.

In addition, Dr. Mack founded The Global Energy Post and MathQED – a homework help site for K-12 and college students. Previously known as Phat Math, this service has even been named one of the Top 50 Social Sites for Educators and Academics, 25 Savvy Social Media Sites for Grad Students and 25 Useful Networking Sites for Grad Students. Such accolades illustrate Dr. Mack’s ability to clearly inform the masses.

Connect with the Author:  Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Baku: The Dream Eater

“You killed us Danny, it’s all your fault”

“We thought you loved us and you led us to our death.”

“Nooooo, it’s not true, I loved you I didn’t know I was putting you in danger.”

“You disobeyd us you weren’t supposed to leave the house.”

Danny stared in horror as his parents decomposing bodies came closer. His father’s left arm was nothing but bone but his left arm still looked normal, his clothes were shredded and one leg stuck out of his pants that still had flesh in some places but bone in the others. His mother looked worse, her eyes were hollowed out sockets and she had no teeth but the skin on her face looked perfect and her hair looked as beautiful as Danny remembered it. Her body had the appearance of a walking skeleton but it was hard to tell because she was still immaculately dressed.

The father opened his mouth to speak again and maggots and dirt spilled from his mouth, then he spoke: We’ll be with you always Danny, every night until you die.”

His mother bent down to kiss him, he breath smelled like a mixture of rotting food and decay.

Danny started to scream causing his sister Jenny to come running into the room.

“Again Danny, when is this going to end? Was it the same dream?”

Danny struggling to catch his breath responded. “Yes Mom and Dad were here and they looked like zombies! They blame me for their death! They’re going to haunt me for the rest of my life”

“Danny, Mom and Dad aren’t haunting you. Nightmares come from your imagination. It’s not your fault they died.”

It is my fault, I shouldn’t of snuck out and gone to Steve’s house, If I wouldn’t have they wouldn’t have gotten killed by a drunk driver while they were coming to get me.”

“You wouldn’t have known that was going to happen, now go back to sleep you have school tomorrow and I have to work and if I can’t work then we have to go out and live on the streets, so no more nightmares and no more screaming or I’ll beat the crap out of you, got it. Jenny said with a smile.

Danny laughed a little: “I’ll try but no guarantees, I love you sis.”

“I love you too Danny and things will get better for us.” Jenny said leaving the room

Danny was 12 and his sister Jenny was 19. Six months ago their parents died in a car crash leaving them as orphans. Jenny would have been going off to her second year of college but the crash changed all of that. She had to take care of her brother and luckily thanks to the life insurance settlement,they got to stay in their home. Nothing was the same though, everything in the house made them remember think of their parents and they couldn’t get past the fact that their mom and dad could never come home.

They tried to move forward like life was normal but things weren’t normal and they would never be like they use to. Danny was having the same nightmare night after night . Both kids were in therapy but tit didn’t seem to be doing either one any good. How does any kid get over the death of a parent? But the nightmares had to stop and it was up to Jenny to help her brother.

Jenny started to visit the library for books that might give a hint on stopping nightmares, there were medicines available to stop dreaming but she didn’t want her brother to have to take drugs for it. The next idea was hypnosis but that didn’t appeal to Jenny either. Then while looking through an encyclopedia on nightmares she found the answer she was looking for. Her brother has always been interested in Japanese mythology and according to the book on nightmares there was a Japanese legend called a Baku.

A Baku looks a little like a tapir but with the body of a bear, nose of an elephant, feet of a tiger, tail of an ox, and the eyes of a rhinoceros and horns of a reindeer. The baku can be summoned by saying “Baku-san, come eat my dream” three times. The baku will then eat the nightmare of the person who summoned it, but if the nightmare isn’t terrifying enough, it will then eat the person’s hopes and dreams.

That night Jenny told Danny about the Baku…

Kiss: The Elder, Volume One

Back in 1981 the rock band Kiss released Music From “The Elder” which was a concept album about the recruitment and training of a boy by a council of elders to become a hero in a world that needs one. The album was not successful but some fans loved it and looked at it as something original and different from one America’s greatest rock bands. Since its release there have been some independently produced movies and comics that tell the story of The Elder. In 2017 Dynamyte comics is publishing their version of the story called Kiss: The Elder, Volume One.

Written by Amy Chu and illustrated by Kewber Baal, The Elder Volume One is a beautifully illustrated 154 page graphic novel that tells the story of a world with no sun and no heroes. In order to find out more about their world, four young friends embark on a journey for answers. Together they will find the truth about the Council of Elders and the real history about their underground home, the city of Blackwell.

If you’re a fan of Kiss this is a must have book because of the beautiful art and how Kiss is worked into the story. The writing is excellent, it starts off simple and gets more complex as you read it. I like the idea that the four kids in search of answers discover that their world is not what they thought it was. They then find that they would have been better off not knowing the answers in the first place.  In the beginning you get the feeling that they are in a city ruled by a dictator but as the story moves along, you see that this is not the case. I love it when I can’t predict where a story will go and the ending was a nice surprise. I’m looking forward to volume 2 in this series to see how the universe of The Elder will be expanded.