Young Adult

The Obsidian Mask by Caroline Ludovici

I LOVE when my friends write books! I love it even more when they write sequels to books! My lovely friend Caroline, wrote The Obsidian Mask, which I read and enjoyed.

The Obsidian Mask by Caroline Ludovici

Here’s a synopsis to refresh your memory:

A highly respected Mesopotamian warrior queen, known throughout the lands for her diplomacy and fairness, has been killed in a cowardly attack by a neighboring king intent on securing their city’s precious water supply during a long, devastating drought. Her daughter, the young princess, has a death mask crafted from an ancient, sacred block of obsidian, has it inlaid with precious family stones, then seals it in the tomb with the queen until the end of time…

The Obsidian Mask is present day, fast moving adventure involving four young teenagers. Natasha, the main character, is fifteen, pensive and intuitive. Her thirteen year-old brother, Alex is easy-going, fun and likable. They fly from London to the Middle East to join their archaeologist mother for the Easter holidays, where she is excavating with an international team of archaeologists. However, almost as soon as the children arrive, things don’t go as smoothly as expected.

The team has recently discovered the palace and the tomb of an ancient Mesopotamian queen, which they are in the delicate process of uncovering. Until its discovery the queen was merely a legend, so Marcello, the Italian director of the dig, is ecstatic at finding it; it is the pinnacle of his long career. The tomb contains many skeletons and interesting artifacts, but nothing more fabulous than the queen’s incredible, priceless death mask that covers her skull. However, unbeknown to Marcello, it is not only his team who shows a keen interest in the precious mask.

Despite the general excitement with the find, Natasha’s mind is elsewhere. She has taken an instinctive dislike to Marcello, who she realizes has interests in her mother. Her resentment and jealousy towards him is made worse when she is thrown together with his two teenage children, who are also staying at the camp. Lorenzo, fifteen, is immaculately dressed, polite, and well spoken, and Gabriella, his sister, is thirteen, bored, very spoilt and irritatingly winy. But despite Natasha’s reluctance in liking the family, Marcello confides in her while showing her the incredible tomb of the ancient queen. He exposes his vulnerable side, and Natasha finds that he shares many of her own feelings and sentiments, especially in the subject of digging up the past, and she reluctantly begins to warm towards the middle-aged Italian.

Yanni, an enthusiastic, good-looking, nineteen year-old Polish volunteer, having detected Natasha’s obvious resentment towards Marcello and his children, gently takes her under his wing. As well as showing her the workings of the dig, and around the beautiful palace floor that he is thrilled to be working on, he helps her to get over her selfish feelings of resentment towards Marcello by telling her a story of his own. However, this personal attention leads Natasha to develop feelings of a different kind towards this young man, and the holiday begins to take an interesting turn in her eyes.

Quite unexpectedly, just as the four teens begin to get to know each other, they are kidnapped, hidden in a cave and held for ransom in exchange for The Obsidian Mask. Natasha’s long blond braid is cut off and sent to Marcello in a box with a ransom note. Marcello is holding a major press conference on his discovery of the Mask and the legendary Queen, with the world’s media and local dignitaries present, and it is during this important lecture that the plait is discovered and the children’s disappearance is realized.

As well as being an exciting adventure for young teens, the reader also learns a little ancient history, and experience the excitement and importance of uncovering an ancient site. The story is insightful, tender, and very thought provoking. The reader experiences the changing sentiments and thoughts of a teenage girl, who comes to realize how selfish and pre-judgmental she has been. In this first book, the children’s characters are developed and opportunities are left open for their subsequent adventures in different locations around the world. Book two continues in Italy. While their parents, now engaged, excavate ancient Etruscan ships buried under the Pisa railway station, the four teens discover that Lorenzo and Gabriella’s grandmother, the Contessa, has more to hide than the average Italian nonna, and unraveling someone’s hidden identity leads not only to to stolen artwork hidden by the Nazis during WW11, but a can of worms they wish they hadn’t opened…


Say what?? Sounds like the Kane Chronicles mixed with Capture the Flag mixed with a pirate adventure?? Ok well maybe not pirates but one can only hope, right? I love books that take kids to Egypt.  I hear there will be a sequel so keep your eyes on this channel!



I’m part of Lady Reader Bookstuff Tour!


2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books Diversity

Month in Review: February


2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books

What’s in My Ear: The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1) by Rick Riordan

So. You’ve probably read some of Riordan’s other books, like Percy Jackson, etc, right? But did you know that the Kane Chronicles will fit into the Diversity Challenge?


Who knew??

Kids who’ve read the series, that’s who.


The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1) by Rick Riordan

If you don’t know, let me do you a solid. Don’t look at the cover because it’s been whitewashed. Yes, harsh words, it’s true but it’s the truth. The Kane Chronicles is about a brother and sister duo who are mixed race: they are half white and half black!

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.


Yep, the book about Egyptian gods and goddesses, contains children who are descendants of  Egyptian gods. And where is Egypt located?

In Africa.

So, yeah. But if you’ve read the series already you know that. If you haven’t read it, then add it to your list.

I liked the book.  I didn’t love it like Percy Jackson (remember it took me two reads to like PJ)  but I liked it. It’s not great characterization but what I do like about it is the fast paced action. Kids who don’t consider themselves readers will be hooked from the start to the end.

Egyptian mythology is kinda difficult to follow but once you get into it, you’ll manage. I listened to it on audio and there were two readers, and the woman reading Sadie’s is English which really added a fun dimension to the story.

I wish they would change the cover, so that kids of color will know the book stars people who look like them.  Have you read the Red Pyramid?

Books Children

The Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

August has been a fun month of reading.  I especially love meeting with my tweenies at book club!  This month we discussed The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

The Lightning Thief

These little bibliophiles are just as excited to read books as my adult book club members are with one exception; my tweenies get smothies! Aside from chatting about the book, book clubbers also get a few fun activities to enjoy, like word searches, crossword puzzles, etc.

Unconventional Librarian
























See that purple square? That’s the Percy Jackson Bingo game we played.  That’s how one clubber colored in her game card.  I kinda like it.

A few days later, several of us met up to watch the new movie Sea of Monsters.  My little critics were well behaved AND had no shortage of opinions about the movies and the books.


Have you read Percy Jackson?  What do you think?

Did I possibly spot the  author in a cameo?

Books Children Young Adult

Five Must Have Books for Tweens

If you still have holiday shopping to do, fear not, I’ve compiled five of the hottest series for tweens!

If you’re child likes adventure but is not quite ready for witches and wizards, try these adventurous titles:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief  by Rick Riordan, is a series both tween boys and girls can enjoy. Additional series by Riordan include Heros of Olympus, Kane Chronicles, and The 39 Clues.

Need more ? How about Ridley Pearson’s Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark.  Adventures in the the Happiest Place on Earth!

WAIT!! That’s not five books, that’s SEVEN!!

I know, gave you two extra.

I’ll have more gift suggestions later, stop back!