Monday, October 19, 2009

The Battle for Skandia

The Battle for Skandia is by John Flanagan. This is book four in The Ranger's Apprentice series. Halt & Horace have finally found Will and Evanlyn, but now they must fight with the Skandians to save themselves and Araluen from the Temujai who are invading from the eastern steppes. Can they persuade their recent enemies to accept their aid? Can they defeat a force more than twice their size? Another adventure packed installment in this wonderful series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Transall Saga

The Transall Saga is by Gary Paulsen. Mark decides to take a solo camping trip in the desert. A nice restful time alone, or so he thinks. A beam of blue light transports him to what appears to be another planet. He must learn to survive in this new world even as he looks for a way home. His encounters with primitive tribes force him to grow up and learn that he is not as helpless as he thinks. Paulsen's experience with survival tales is evident in this foray into science fiction. Both fans of science fiction and fans of Paulsen will love this book.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Go Ask Alice

Go Ask Alice is by Anonymous. The horrific story of a young teenager's introduction to, and descent into the world of drug abuse. As terrifying and poignant now as it was 25 years ago, this is a book all teenagers and their parents should read. There is profanity and mature content, but the message is as necessary and vital today as when it was originally published. We highly recommend this book.

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

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gregor the Overlander

Gregor the Overlander is by Suzanne Collins. The first book in the Underland Chronicles. Eleven-year-old Gregor follows his two-year-old sister into an air vent in the laundry room of their apartment complex and falls into the Underworld. Their arrival tears apart the fragile peace between the human dwellers, the rats, bats, cockroaches, and spiders. Gregor just wants to go home until he discovers his missing father may be alive in the Underworld and only he can save him. A fascinating tale of heroism and the realities of war put forth in a way young people can easily understand.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is by J.K. Rowling. The second book in the Harry Potter series. Harry and friends return to Hogwarts for their second year. He was warned by a house elf that something terrible is brewing. When someone or something starts turning people to stone, the three friends must do everything in their power to save the school. But could the culprit really be Hagrid? Another must read for Harry fans everywhere.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

The Lost Colony

The Lost Colony is by Eoin Colfer. The fifth installment in the magical adventures of Artemis Fowl. Demons were transported to another dimension thousands of years ago. The time tunnel that connects their world to ours is deteriorating. To save the demons from extinction Artemis and Holly must rescue a captured imp from another teenage genius and return him to the island of Hybras and return the island to our time. But will everyone return from Hybras intact and alive? Another exciting tale in an ever enjoyable series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Read Between My Lines: The Musical & Life Journey of Stevie Nicks

Read Between My Lines: The Musical & Life Journey of Stevie Nicks is by Sandra Halliburton. This book walks you through the life and musical career of one of the most beloved female singer/songwriters of our time. The book is filled with great photographs and many quotes from Stevie and other members of Fleetwood Mac. An enjoyable read for all Stevie Nicks fans.

Ratings: 9th grade - 7 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Gettysburg is by MacKinlay Kantor. Three years into the Civil War the Union and Confederate forces meet in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for what would be three of the bloodiest days of the Civil War. It appeared the South would win, but through strategy, determination, and luck the Union won the day and turned the tide of the war. An excellent book that walks us through the entire battle and its aftermath.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Dark of the Moon

Dark of the Moon is by Rachel Hawthorne. The third in the Dark Guardian series. Brittany has reached her time of transformation, but she hasn't been feeling the intense sensations associated with turning. The only feelings she has are for Connor. Now that Lindsey has chosen Rafe does she stand a chance with him? Then her worst fear is realized and she doesn't transform. How can she ever hope to win Connor's love and be a Dark Guardian when she is not a Shifter? What is she willing to do to become one?

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity).


Outcast is by Michelle Paver. The fourth book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Series. Torak's secret has been discovered and he is now an outcast, clanless, and hunted by all. He is alone and on the run with no one except Wolf by his side. Tainted by soul-sickness he finds himself drawn to the Soul Eaters. Can Renn find him in time? Can she save him? Will her own secret tear them apart forever? This series continues to be full of excitement, adventure, and the power of loyalty and friendship.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Lords of the Underworld Series

The Lords of the Underworld Series is by Gena Showalter. A series of paranormal romances that revolve around the fate of a host of immortal warriors who are cursed when they become possessed by the demons released from Pandora's box. The first book, The Darkest Night, is about Maddox, the bearer of Violence. How can Violence ever know love? Can these cursed warriors ever find peace with their fate? A fascinating and enjoyable series for readers over 18.

Ratings: Adult - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (graphic sexual content).

Secrets Of A Civil War Submarine: Solving The Mysteries Of The H. L. Hunley

Secrets Of A Civil War Submarine: Solving The Mysteries Of The H. L. Hunley is by Sally M. Walker. During the Civil War the South built the first submarine designed to sink enemy ships. After its first success, the Hunley never came back. 130 years later it was found and salvaged. This is the story of the Hunley and her crew. A wonderful book to get kids into nonfiction. Full of diagrams and pictures that are beautiful as well as intriguing.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Magic and Other Misdemeanors

Magic and Other Misdemeanors is by Michael Buckley. The fifth book in the Sisters Grimm series. While Granny Relda struggles to come up with money to pay the taxes, the sisters must locate three magical items that have been stolen. Someone is using the items to open up tears in time and if they can't be found and stopped the future for everyone in Ferryport Landing could be very "grim". Mr. Canis is becoming more like the Big Bad Wolf every day and Sabrina and Daphne wonder if they can save their parents, their friend, and their town.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Leven Thumps & the Whispered Secret

Leven Thumps & the Whispered Secret is by Obert Skye. The second book in the series finds Leven struggling to save both Geth and Winter. Geth is hardening and if he doesn't get to the turrets he will be a dead toothpick. Winter has been captured by Jamoon and Leven must rescue her as well. He has also dug up a buried secret that could be deadly in the wrong hands. Can he restore Geth to the throne of Foo, rescue Winter, and master his own powers before it's too late?

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Oh My Goth

Oh My Goth is by Gena Showalter. Showalter, who is better known for adult romances such as the Atlantis novels and the Lords of Underworld Series, tries her hand at young adult fiction. Jade is a goth in a school full of "Barbies". She and her friends are constantly ridiculed and mocked. When she and her worst enemy Mercedes run afoul of the school's evil principal, Ms. Hamilton decides to "teach them a lesson". The principal tricks their parents into signing a consent form for a "field trip". The girls find themselves strapped down, sedated, and sent into a virtual universe where the goths are the popular kids and the Barbies are the "freaks". Her only chance of getting back home is with help from Mercedes and a handsome new kid named Clarik. A bizarre but entertaining tale that reads much more realistically than it sounds.

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10 - P (profanity).

The League Series

The League Series is by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The series opens with Born of Night. These are pre-Dark Hunter novels that are now being returned to print. The Ichidian Universe is run by the League, who has an expertly trained and highly valued core of assassins who uphold their rulings. But what happens when the League becomes corrupt? Command Assassin Nykyrian Quiakides turns his back on the League and becomes the most hunted man in the universe. He forms his own group of assassins to protect innocents from League "justice". Instead of demons, Dark Hunters, and gods, Kenyon turns to science fiction in this series. The books are full of her typical brand of caustic humor and tortured heroes. Kenyon's Minions will love this series as well. Not recommend for those under 18.

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

Full Moon

Full Moon is by Rachel Hawthorne. The second book in the Dark Guardian series. Lindsey is approaching the first full moon after her seventeenth birthday; the time of her turning. Now she must choose her mate to help her through it. Will she choose Connor, her friend and the mate her parents chose long ago? Or will she choose the dark and brooding Rafe? As the danger to the pack increases so does the tension between Rafe and Connor; a fight over Lindsey seems inevitable. Will it be a fight to the death? Which will she choose and which will die?

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity).

True Mystery Stories

True Mystery Stories is by Finn Bevan. A wonderful collection of true mystery tales sure to engage the most reluctant reader. Does the Loch Ness Monster exist? Was Robin Hood real or fictional? What is the truth of UFO's? Who was the real model for the Mona Lisa? What happened to the Mary Celeste? A great introduction to nonfiction reading.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

The Time Machine

The Time Machine is by H.G. Wells. A classic tale of time travel by the master of science fiction writing. The Time Traveller invents a machine to take him through time. He travels to the year 802701 and encounters the beautiful and peaceful Eloi and the ugly and warlike Morlocks. When the Morlocks capture the time machine, the Traveller must get it back if he wants to return to his own time. Can he escape the future or will he lose his life trying?

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.

Argeneau Vampire Series

The Argeneau Vampire Series is by Lynsay Sands. The first book in this paranormal romance series is called A Quick Bite. You quickly become immersed in the inner workings of the Argeneau family. A family of ancient immortals who resent being called "vampires". Sands takes the traditional vampire mythology in a completely new direction. Vampirism is scientific and began thousands of years ago in Atlantis as an experiment using nanotechnology to fight disease and injury - an experiment that worked too well. Now immortals continue to live among us trying to keep their existence secret, find their life mates, and police the rogues in their society who don't want to play nice with mortals. Sands' work is full of humor and excitement as well as romance. A great new series for vampire loves over the age of 18. A close second to Sherrilyn Kenyon on our list of favorites.

Ratings: Adult - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (graphic sexual content).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Royal Blood

Royal Blood is by Ellen Schreiber. The latest entry in the Vampire Kisses series. Raven is getting ready to start school. Yuck! She has to see Trevor Mitchell again. Double Yuck! Then she discovers Alexander's parents are returning. After they arrive it seems everyone has seen them except Raven. Why is Alexander hesitating about introducing her to his folks? Is he afraid they won't accept her? What if they don't? Finally she is invited to dinner and discovers something that could change her life forever. Another fun and exciting read in this cute series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Lake of Souls

The Lake of Souls is by Darren Shan. The tenth installment in the saga of Darren Shan. Harkat's nightmares are getting worse. Mr. Tiny says he must travel to the Lake of Souls and find out who he was in life or he will go insane. Darren and Harkat set off together to find the answers to Harkat's previous identity. Will they succeed? What awaits them in the murky waters of the dead? Another exciting adventure in the Cirque Du Freak series.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.

Blue Bloods

Blue Bloods is by Melissa de la Cruz. The first book in the Blue Bloods series. A interesting new take on vampire legend. In this one vampires are fallen angels hoping to work their back into heaven's grace. These "blue bloods" are reincarnated over and over and their vampire tendencies don't show until they reach puberty. Schuyler Van Alen attends an exlusive prep school with other blue bloods. They are supposed to be immortal, but when a classmate dies Schulyer wants the truth about herself and the rest of her kind.

Ratings: 9th grade - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity).


Moonlight is by Rachel Hawthorne. The first book in the Dark Guardian series. Kayla has returned to the national forest where her parents were killed when she was a child. She has taken a job as a guide to work through her issues. Her first assignment is to help guide a team of werewolf hunting scientists to a remote part of the forest. On the way she discovers that her handsome lead guide is a werewolf and that, surprise, she is too. A fascinating series with the werewolves as the good guys for a nice change of pace.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity).

Tears of a Giraffe

Tears of a Giraffe is by Alexander McCall Smith. The 2nd book in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Precious is pondering her future with Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni who has adopted two children from the orphan home without telling her. She has also promoted her talented secretary to "assistant detective" and given her her first case. She must also solve the case of a missing American boy so his mother can find peace. Another wonderful look into the culture of Botswana and its residents.

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


Beardance is by Will Hobbs. The sequel to Bearstone. Cloyd is still living in Colorado with Walter Landis. They head back into the mountains to look for gold and discover a mother grizzly and her cubs. Cloyd is still haunted by the death of the grizzly he feels he caused last year. When the mother grizzly is killed in a freak accident, Cloyd is determined to stay with the cubs until they are old enough to den. But winter is deepening in the mountains, can Cloyd or the cubs survive? Another Hobbs masterpiece.

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10.

Night Wings

Night Wings is by Joseph Bruchac. A young American Indian teen goes to live with his grandfather while his parents are deployed in Iraq. It does not look like an exciting time, until he and his grandfather are kidnapped by treasure hunters. The treasure they seek is buried on a mountain the Indians believe is haunted by a creature of great power and terror. Paul has always thought Pmola was a legend, but is he? Another Bruchac masterpiece for boys.

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

I Was a Teenage Fairy

I Was a Teenage Fairy is by Francesca Lia Block. Another one of Block's postmodern fairy tales that combines elements of painful reality with fantasy. Barbie and Griffin are both teen models, forced to model by fame-chasing mothers. They were also abused by the same photographer and have told no one. Barbie struggles to deal with her abuse by talking to Mab, a fairy, who may or may not be real - but is very real to Barbie (and Griffin and readers). If you are a fan of Block you will love this tale, as it is typical of her writing. You can feel the pain these teens are going through as they struggle to survive their abuse any way they can. It contains mature content, non-graphic sexual references, references to recreational drug use, and profanity.

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