Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Boggart

The Boggart is by Susan Cooper. When Emily and Jessup's parents inherit an old Scottish castle, they don't realize they have also inherited the boggart who lives there. The boggart, an invisible mischievous spirit, has lived in Castle Keep for generations. When the boggart accidentally gets himself shipped to the Volnik's home in Toronto, nothing will ever be the same - for the Volnik's or the boggart. He wreaks unending havoc on the family and wants desperately to go home. Will he make it back to Scotland? A very cute fantasy story.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hot Six

Hot Six is by Janet Evanovich. Number six in the Stephanie Plum mystery series. Stephanie's life just got even more complicated, and you thought that wasn't possible. Her friend Carol is threatening to jump off a bridge; things between Steph and Morelli are really heating up; she's being trailed by two thugs; the corpse count is rising; her grandmother just moved in with her; she's been tricked into dog-sitting a lab; and Vinnie has just given her a new F.T.A. - Ranger. You know McDonald's is hiring, and that would mean free fries!?! One of the funniest in the series thus far. A real gem! A must read for Morelli fans everywhere - and those of us who wish we were Stephanie too.

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

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Search for Senna

Search for Senna is by K. A. Applegate. This is the first book in the Everworld fantasy series. There's always been something strange about Senna, even her sister (April) thinks so. One day her sister and three friends follow her to the lake. Suddenly a huge wolf appears and grabs Senna. The four friends attempt to save her and find themselves in Everworld. A world full of ancient races and gods. This is an interesting tale full of ancient Viking, Aztec, and Egyptian mythology with a touch of alien insects thrown in for good measure. It should make for a fun thrilled packed series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity).

High Five

High Five is by Janet Evanovich. The fifth installment in the ever rollicking and enjoyable Stephanie Plum mystery series. Stephanie's at it again. Her Uncle Fred is missing and her mother and grandmother talk her into trying to find him: after all that's what she does, find people. In typical Stephanie fashion she is forced to deal with a dismembered body, a nasty bookie, an snotty Arab sheik, an angry midget who takes up residence in her apartment, Benito Ramirez (the rapist and killer) who is out on parole, and Grandma Mazur with a stun gun. Oh, and did I mention she's trying to chose between Morelli and Ranger. What is a Jersey Girl to do? These books just keep getting better and funnier. A must read for Stephanie wannabes everywhere.

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

The Foretelling

The Foretelling is by Alice Hoffman. This is the historical fiction story of Rain, a young Amazon girl coming of age on the steppes of Russia. A child born of pain and sorrow, the daughter of a Queen, a master horsewoman, sister of the bear, Rain struggles to come to terms with her past, her present, and her future. She is touched by Deborah's foretelling and begins to see there is more to life than war and prowess in battle. Will she have the strength to seize her destiny or will she succumb to the harsh life her people have always known? Is it really possible for one young girl to change the future of her people? A wonderful story of overcoming tragedy and learning to trust yourself.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.


Galen is by Allan Gilbreath. This is the first book in The Galen Saga. Galen is a vampire. He's been around for a long time and he's having a really bad month. He's forced to kill another vampire, he's being tracked by person or persons unknown in a van, his accountant is out for his head - literally, and he has now ended up "turning" his dinner. Jeez! What next! This is a dark and very strange tale. It hooks you enough to keep you reading hoping that you will eventually get to the crux of the matter. You don't and you are left with a vaguely unsatisfied feeling. However, you do end up wanting to read the next book to see if Galen gets what he has coming or not. Worth a read if you enjoy dark vampire fantasy tales.

Ratings: 9th grade - 6 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity) - S (non-graphic sexual references).


Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West is by Gregory Maguire. When we read The Wizard of Oz we only heard one side of the story, Dorothy's side. Now let's hear from the other side. This is the story of one of the most hated villains in all of classic literature: the Wicked Witch of the West. Where did she come from? Is she really wicked? What made her that way? This is a fantastic story on the true nature of evil. It is not L. Frank Baum's tale. This book is for adults. It contains profanity, sexual references, and mature thematic content. In some ways it's even a political thriller. A wonderfully gripping fantasy book for those readers old enough to grasp its complexity.

Ratings: Adult - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (sexual references).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dance With a Vampire

Dance With a Vampire is by Ellen Schreiber. #4 in the Vampire Kisses fantasy series, this is the continuing saga of Raven (a goth girl) and Alexander (her vampire boyfriend). In this installment Raven and Alexander are trying to date, get ready for the prom, and protect Raven's younger brother Billy Boy from Jagger's younger brother Valentine. But is Valentine really evil? What does he really want? Can't wait for #5.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is a book of short stories starring the great detective Sherlock Holmes and his indomitable sidekick Dr. Watson. If you love mysteries you have to love Sherlock Holmes and these are some of the best of his tales. I highly recommend this classic historical fiction book for mystery lovers of all ages.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Cold Tom

Cold Tom is by Sally Prue. Tom is an elf. He has never been to the city of the demons (humans). He gets into trouble and has to run from the world of elves and ends up with the demons. The whole new world he discovers changes his life forever. This is a very interesting fantasy story from the perspective of an elf.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Kensuke's Kingdom

Kensuke's Kingdom is by Michael Morpurgo. This is the historical fiction story of a 12-year-old boy who finds himself shipwrecked on an island with a old WWII Japanese soldier. It is a great survival tale, but it is also a story of understanding and courage. It is a great story for boys especially.

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Baseball in April & Other Stories

Baseball in April & Other Stories is by Gary Soto. This is a book of multi-cultural short stories about Latino youth. These stories are enjoyable and entertaining. Boys will especially enjoy these stories. It is an easy collection to read and has a glossary of Spanish words, phrases, and expressions used in the book to make them easy to understand by non-Spanish speakers. This is a wonderful introduction to Soto's writing.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Track of the Cat

Track of the Cat is by Nevada Barr. The first novel in the Anna Pigeon mystery series is really something. Anna is a park ranger working for the National Park Service in the west Texas desert. While tracking mountain lions that have been resettled into the park, Anna finds the body of a fellow ranger. It appears she has been killed by one of the mountain lions; but Anna doesn't buy it, too many things just don't make sense. She sets herself to solve the mystery and catch the murderer. If you like detailed description of the beauty of the American wilderness this is the book for you. You feel like you're in the desert. I kept finding myself reaching for more water while reading this book. The ending was not what I expected and I didn't figure out "who done it" until the end. There is profanity and adult content, making this a great read for older mystery buffs and outdoor enthusiasts.

Ratings: 11th grade - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).