Blog Tour, Guest Post, and Review: Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen

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Author: Jordan Jacobs

Age Range: 9 – 12 years

Grade Level: 4 – 7

Series: Samantha Sutton

Paperback: 368 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (January 7, 2014)

Language: English

Genre: Adventure/mystery

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Source: Publisher via NetGalley for tour

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Samantha Sutton is hesitant to join Uncle Jay on another archaeological
excavation. But the marshes near Cambridge, England sound harmless after
the sinister perils she faced in Peru. Or so she thought… During the
excavation, Samantha makes a crucial discovery that threatens to halt
construction on a nearby theme park. The site could be the ancient
fortress of Queen Boudica who led an uprising against the Roman Empire.
An amazing find! But now Samantha is the only thing standing between
English Lord Caim Catesby and the theme park that will make him
millions.

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Praise:

Praise for Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies:

“Debut author Jacobs, an archeologist by trade, meticulously describes
both the Peruvian setting and the excavation processes, which should fascinate
readers who share Sam’s interest in archeology…Capable, passionate Sam is a rewarding heroine to follow.” —Publishers Weekly

“Middle-grade readers will be focused on the mystery, pulled on by
gripping suspense.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Do you like action, adventure and mystery? . . .If you’re looking for
a suspenseful story, then pick up this book and follow Samantha through hidden
tunnels and haunted ruins.” —Time for Kids

About the Author:

Jordan Jacobs has loved archaeology for
as long as he can remember.  His childhood passion for mummies, castles
and Indiana Jones led to his participation in his first excavation, at
age 13, in California’s Sierra Nevada. After completing a high school
archaeology program in the American Southwest, he followed his passion
through his education at Stanford, Oxford, and Cambridge. Since then,
Jordan’s work for the Smithsonian, the American Museum of Natural
History and UNESCO Headquarters in Paris has focused on policy and the
protection of archaeological sites in the developing world.

Jordan’s research and travel
opportunities have taken him to almost fifty countries— from Cambodia’s
ancient palaces, to Tunisia’s Roman citadels, to Guatemala’s Mayan
heartland and the voodoo villages of Benin.

Jordan now works as Head of Cultural Policy at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley.  He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.

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A Day in the Life of an Archaeologist by Jordan Jacobs:

Archaeology is the study of how people lived in the past through what they’ve left behind.

These pieces of evidence—or “artifacts”—can be as big as an Iron Age hill fort or as small as a speck of pollen, stuck to the surface of an ancient cooking vessel. But the amount of information they contain can be surprising: from the food people ate, to the way they fought, to the gods they worshiped, to their views of the larger world.

Like any discipline, archaeology has its specialties, and subspecialities, and subsubspecialities–each with their own way of doing things. Generally, the science divides between university research excavations and cultural resource (or heritage) management, involving sites that are threatened (or doomed outright) by pending construction projects. But other archaeologists exclusively work in labs, using the tools of science to discover how old an object is, exactly what it’s made of, or precisely where it’s from. Still others spend their days in museum storerooms, applying the latest methods to the evidence recovered by their predecessors. And some archaeologists work with governments and non-profit foundations to protect sites from destruction through development, looting, neglect, or war.

But one thing archaeology isn’t is a treasure hunt. Archaeologists don’t keep what they find, and they don’t want to: their job is to share the information gleaned from their discoveries with the rest of the world. A complicating factor is that excavation destroys sites, so that each particular discovery can be made only once. It’s up to archaeologists to record everything they can, or the information will be lost forever. Just as importantly, archaeologists are responsible to cultural stakeholders, too, with their own relationships to sites and artifacts, and their own views on what, if anything, should be disturbed, investigated, or made public.

Archaeology is a puzzle–one where the full picture may never be clear. But its also a little like time travel. Holding an artifact in your hand can make you feel a connection to someone who lived thousands of years before.

It can be surprising. It can be humbling. It can be a little bit sad.

And it’s almost always a thrill.

My Thoughts on Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen:

Who knew archaeology could be so exciting? 

Samantha Sutton is off on another adventure. This time, she heads to
England with her Uncle Jay and brother Evan to try and rescue a
potentially historic site from becoming an amusement park.

There is much to love about this book. It is full of mystery, suspense,
history, and adventure. Samantha is a strong and resilient girl that
thinks and acts more like an adult than a twelve year old. She is a
great protagonist and I loved following her around the streets of
Cambridge and the dig site at Wardy Hill. She has an amazing ability to see
things for what they are, and not what they appear to be. The other
characters in the book play good supporting roles and add more
dimension to the story. Her uncle Jay is a character worthy of both love and hate. He is fun
and energetic, but extremely irresponsible and self-centered. The bad
guy is appropriately frightening and creepy and the Lord Professor is
both a source of amusement and a great trial to the excavation team. Overall, I
found the characters to be believable and interesting.

The writing is nothing short of gorgeous. I highlighted passages
like crazy. Everything is impeccably researched and planned out, so
there are no spots of confusion. I haven’t read the first book in the
series, but if it is as good as this one, then I will definitely be
searching it out. If you are planning to read this series, I would suggest starting on the first book because
many of the characters, rivals, and relationships have been carried over.

There were just a couple of things that I didn’t find entirely
believable, but when all was said and done, I thought this book was fantastic. I’m
surprised that it hasn’t gotten more attention.  Highly recommended for middle grade readers.

Content: Suspense and light danger. A few British curse words.

The Cover: While this cover is definitely more appealing than the first
book’s cover, I’m still not crazy about it. It accurately depicts the
general idea of the book, but Samantha’s running pose is kind of awkward
and we don’t really get a feel for what the book is really about. I
don’t think it’s a bad cover, but I think it could have been better.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Adriana Garcia
    December 3, 2013 at 1:26 am

    You HIGHLIGHTED pages!!?? Dena… I liked the Day in the Life of an Archaeologist – it made archaeology kind of interesting and reading about your enthusiasm for this book it doesn't sound as boring as the summary made me feel. The complex characters are a plus too!

    • Reply
      reviewkidsbooks@gmail.com
      December 3, 2013 at 1:30 am

      Maybe I should clarify: the highlighting was done on my kindle. But yes, I highlighted like there was no tomorrow and I would do it again.

  • Reply
    Stacie Theis
    December 6, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Awesome! I love to find new books for my daughter and this one looks like a great read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the book. I enjoyed your review.

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