Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lean Mean Thirteen

Lean Mean Thirteen is by Janet Evanovich. The next installment in the saga of bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. Stephanie's ex, that two-timing weasel lawyer Dickie Orr, is missing and Stephanie is blamed for his murder. Ranger thinks Dickie was involved in something shady and, no surprise, he was. Now she and Ranger try to find Dickie while Joyce Barnhardt tries to find Stephanie. Morelli again finds himself in the unenviable position of having to trust Ranger to take care of Stephanie. Another great installment.

Ratings: 11th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non-graphic sexual references).


Snakecharm is by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. This is the second book in the Kiesha'Ra series. This fascinating tale of palace intrigue and political strategy is told from Zane's point of view. He and Danica struggle to keep the fragile peace between the avians and serpiente. When Danica becomes pregnant no one seems willing to accept a mixed blood heir to either throne. Then a messenger arrives from the falcon court to foster even more political nightmares. A great second book in what started out to be a fascinating series. Atwater-Rhodes gets better and better with age and experience.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

The Coffin Club

The Coffin Club is by Ellen Schreiber. The fifth book in the Vampire Kisses series finds Raven back at The Coffin Club. She has returned to Hipsterville to visit her Aunt Libby and to find Alexander who has not returned as soon as he promised from delivering Valentine to his family. She finds Alexander and she also discovers that The Coffin Club has changed. It's not just a club for goth kids anymore; there is an underground club for real vampires. Yeah, ah but all is not well in paradise. There are two factions fighting for control of the club; one wishes it to remain a secret gathering place for vampires and the other wants to make a stand and out their kind to humans - and Raven is caught in the middle. Will someone else turn her before Alexander gets the chance? Another cool entry in this "Twilight Light" series, although this one is darker than the others.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Dark Chances

Dark Chances is by Allan Gilbreath. The sequel to Galen finds Brenda still angry even though it's been two years since Galen turned her. She is struggling to find her place in the world and to adjust to what she has become. Along the way she discovers there are others like her and has to wonder if she is the predator or the prey. She meets two human bounty hunters led by two vampires who are seeking a rogue vampire who is turning people willy nilly. Will she find a "family" or will she be a victim of the others? This book flows better than the first novel and the action is all a vampire lover could wish for. The human bounty hunters, John and Scott, are a hoot.

Ratings: 9th grade - 9 out of 10 - S (non-graphic sexual content) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Plum Lucky

Plum Lucky is by Janet Evanovich. The third Between-the-Numbers novella is set around St. Patrick's Day. Grandma Mazur finds a bag of money lost by a guy who thinks he's a leprechaun and decides to go to Atlantic City and play the slots. It turns out the money was stolen from the mob and not only are they after the thief so is Diesel. Another amusing fill in between the really meaty stories.

Ratings: 11th grade - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non-graphic sexual references).

Plum Lovin'

Plum Lovin' is by Janet Evanovich. The second Between-the-Numbers novella finds Stephanie struggling through Valentine's Day. Diesel is back and both Morelli and Ranger are out of town. Diesel knows the whereabouts of her latest FTA but he won't share the information unless Steph helps him by playing matchmaker to a whole host of very un-matchable Jersey-ites, among whom is Albert Kloughn. While these novellas are not as good as the regular novels; they are mildly entertaining.

Ratings: 11th grade - 8 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non-graphic sexual references).

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Hawksong is by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. This is the first book in Atwater-Rhodes' new series called The Kiesha'Ra. The author has left vampires behind and moved on to create a world of shape shifters. The avians and the serpiente have been at war so long no one remembers what started the war anymore. In a fantasy Romeo and Juliet would be proud of the two young heirs to their respective thrones decide to end the war by pair bonding and joining the two royal families. Can centuries of hatred and mistrust be undone overnight? Can their union bring peace to their war torn lands? Can Danika and Zane find love in a relationship where trust is hard to come by? A great new series from a fabulous young writer. Can't wait for the next volume.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

The Fire Within

The Fire Within is by Chris D'Lacey. The first in The Dragon series begins when David moves in with the Pennykettle's. He only wants a cheap room near college but finds more than he bargains for; a potter who makes clay dragons that come to life, her 11-year-old daughter who is a never ending source of trouble, a wacky squirrel hating neighbor, and a motley collection of animals. David begins to write a story for Lucy's 12th birthday, but is the story fact or fiction? A great tale filled with laughter and tears. Where can I get my own special dragon?

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10.


Tiger is by Jeff Stone. The first book in Stone's series entitled The Five Ancestors. This is the story of five young monks who are masters of various types of kung fu. When their temple is raided by a monk who was once their brother they are left alone. The Grandmaster and their brother monks are dead; the secret scrolls of the temple have been stolen; and the five young masters are unsure what to do next. This appears to be the start of a great series that boys will enjoy very much. It combines action, adventure, mystery, and kung fu. What more could a guy want?

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Twelve Sharp

Twelve Sharp is by Janet Evanovich. This is probably my favorite book in the series to date. It is full of suspense and drama and, of course, all the craziness you have come to expect from the life of Stephanie Plum. Ranger's daughter has been kidnapped and he is the prime suspect. He needs Stephanie's help to find her so he moves into Stephanie's apartment. Morelli, not liking the arrangement, moves in as well - no testosterone overload there huh! The drama is captivating and the ending leaves you breathless. Another thoroughly enjoyable read.

Ratings: 11th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non-graphic sexual references).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Eleven on Top

Eleven on Top is by Janet Evanovich. The 11th in the outstanding Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie has had enough! She's rolled around in garbage for the last time. She quits; her bounty hunting days are over. She needs a real job. Except...she's fired from the button factory, Lula gets into a shoot out with her boss at the dry cleaners, and she burns down Cluck-in-a-Bucket. That leaves...Ranger. While she struggles with real employment she's being stalked by a killer who runs Morelli over with his car. Another great installment. You gotta love Plum!

Ratings: 11th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non-graphic sexual references) - V (violence).

The Darkangel

The Darkangel is by Meredith Ann Pierce. This is the first book in the Darkangel trilogy. A sweeping science fiction/fantasy set in a distant time and place. Aeriel has been kidnapped by the Darkangel, a vampyre who not only drinks blood, but souls. He brings her to his castle to serve his thirteen "brides", soulless wraiths he keeps there. When he finds his 14th bride he will come into his full powers and he, his 6 full vampyre brothers, and witch mother will rule the world. Aeriel, with the help of a creature called the Duarough, sets out to destroy the Darkangel and free the brides. Can she succeed? Does she really want to? A extremely interesting detour from standard vampyre fare and a moving tribute to the power of love and mercy.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ten Big Ones

Ten Big Ones is by Janet Evanovich. The tenth in the Stephanie Plum series is another winner. OMG Stephanie is in deep this time. She has run afoul of the Slayers, a murderous Trenton street gang, who have hired a contract killer to take her out. Not wanting to endanger either her family or Morelli (with whom she is living - again), she decides to move into - the "Bat Cave". How does she find Ranger's hidden lair? What happens if he comes home while she's there? What will Morelli say? But more importantly, where can she buy some of Ranger's shower gel? Another laugh-a-minute roller coaster through the life of Stephanie Plum, her lunatic family, her strange friends, and her sexy boyfriends. Another gem!

Ratings: 11th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence) - S (non-graphic sexual content).

The Silver Wolf

The Silver Wolf is by Alice Borchardt. This is the first book in the Legends of the Wolves trilogy. Borchardt, the sister of vampire maven Anne Rice, spins an amazingly descriptive tale set in the waning years of the Roman Empire as Charles struggles to become Charlemagne and Hadrian struggles to remain pope. Regeane is a shape shifter, woman and wolf, cursed and blessed, hunter and hunted. Distantly related to Charlemagne she is betrothed to a barbarian chieftain she has never seen to secure a mountain pass needed to keep Charlemagne on the throne and Hadrian on the seat of Peter. Caught up in events beyond her control she struggles to retain her humanity in a world almost totally bereft of human decency. Never have I read a tale so full of plots within plots within plots. It graphically describes the poverty, cruelty, and barbarism of the Dark Ages and the struggles of a young woman to find freedom, and perhaps love. The tale starts slowly; but if you stay with it through Borchardt's intense description you will find a satisfying tale filled with suspense, violence, and hope.

Ratings: 11th grade - 8 out of 10 - P (profanity) - S (non-graphic sexual content) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content).

Montmorency On the Rocks: Doctor, Aristocrat, Murderer?

Montmorency On the Rocks: Doctor, Aristocrat, Murderer? is by Eleanor Updale. The second book in the Montmorency series is better than the first. Five years have passed since Montmorency made his way out of the sewers of London. Montmorency and his friends, Lord George Fox-Selwyn and Dr. Farcett reunite to solve a series of London bombings and the mysterious deaths of children on a remote Scottish island. Montmorency is also battling a personal problem that may lead to his downfall. Will he come clean with his friends about his past? Will he survive this suspenseful tale of murder, espionage, and vengeance?

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.


Heat is by Mike Lupica. This is the story of Michael Arroyo, a Cuban refugee. His father died of a heart attack and he and his 17-year-old brother Carlos are trying to make it on their own. He is the star pitcher on his Little League team bound for the playoffs, but he needs a birth certificate to play. Can he and Carlos evade immigration and Children's Services, get the birth certificate, and manage to make enough money to live? Will Michael realize his dream of pitching in the "big game"? A satisfying, if somewhat predictable, story of triumph in the face of overwhelming odds. Boys will love this story because of the baseball angle.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Girls

The Girls is by Amy Goldman Koss. This is the story of five girls and their struggle with popularity, friendship, and a bully. Each chapter in this book is told by one of the five girls from her individual point of view. You really get a good look into the inner workings of why these girls continue their relationship with a popular, but mean, little snot. The look into the mental processes involved in "the clique" is fascinating. A great story of young girls.

Ratings: 5th grade - 9 out of 10.

Night's Touch

Night's Touch is by Amanda Ashley. The sequel to Night's Kiss, Roshan and Brenna DeLongpre struggle with their adopted daughter Cara. Now twenty-two she still doesn't know her parents are vampires; then she meets Vince Cordova and falls head-over-heels in love. One problem, Vince is a vampire too. She is also being courted by Anton Bouchard the son of her parents' worst enemy. Will Cara be able to handle the truth about her parents and Vince? Will she survive Anton's advances? Will love win out? Another great tale from Amanda Ashley.

Ratings: 12th grade - 8 out of 10 - MR (mild romance) - MP (mild profanity).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Crocodile on the Sandbank

Crocodile on the Sandbank is by Elizabeth Peters. The first book in the Amelia Peabody Mystery series. Agatha Christie fans have found a new heroine. Amelia Peabody is the perfect Victorian combination of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Amelia is a wealthy British woman, a perfect product of her time, who decides to take a trip to Egypt. While in Italy she rescues a younger Brit named Evelyn who has been abandoned by her scoundrel lover. Once they arrive in Egypt they meet the handsome, but irritating, Radcliffe Emerson and his brother Walter. As they help them with their excavation they encounter a walking mummy. However being British, superstition is nonexistent in her blood and Miss Amelia seeks to discover the real identity of the mummy and its sinister purpose. The description of Victorian Era Egypt is absolutely beautiful. The story starts a little slowly, but picks up once the ladies reach the dig. A great story. I hope the series is as good.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

To The Nines

To The Nines is by Janet Evanovich. The 9th installment in the Stephanie Plum series. This is one of my favorite stories in the series, except for the weird stint in Las Vegas - "Yo Steph, stay in Jersey where you belong." The killer in this one is really creepy and psycho which makes for lots of tension between Stephanie and the two men in her life as they try to keep her alive. It all starts when she goes after Samuel Singh, a Indian on a visa bond who disappears with his girlfriend's cockapoo, Boo. To make matters more complicated, Stephanie's sister is having a baby, and Joe's Grandma Bella is having visions, again.

Ratings: 11th grade - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence) - S (non-graphic sexual content).

Visions of Sugar Plums

Visions of Sugar Plums is by Janet Evanovich. The first of the "Between-the-Numbers" novels. This book fits between books 8 & 9 of the regular series. It's only five days before Christmas and Stephanie hasn't even started her shopping. She's busy trying to find Sandy Claws, I know it's really corny. While honestly not my favorite Stephanie adventure, it is worth the read for the "attack of the killer elves" scene. Think of this as It's a Wonderful Life Stephanie Plum style.

Ratings: 11th grade - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non-graphic sexual content) - V (violence).