Sunday, March 29, 2009

White is for Magic

White is for Magic is by Laurie Faria Stolarz. This is the second book in the series begun with Blue is for Nightmares. Stacey is having nightmares again, this time the person in danger is her. Someone is out to kill her, but who? She knows she has enemies? She can't trust her friends? Can she trust the new kid in school who says he's come to help her? An exciting sequel to the original story. We also get a glimpse of Stacey's mother for the first time.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10 - AC (mature thematic content) - MP (mild profanity) - V (violence).

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Hunted is by P.C. & Kristin Cast. The fifth book in the House of Night series finds Zoey and her friends escaping into the tunnels to get away from Kalona's evil. He and Neferet have taken over the House of Night, killed most of the Sons of Erebus, and brainwashed the students and most of the faculty. It's up to Zoey, her friends, and the red fledglings to defeat Kalona and banish him from the House of Night. Another stellar installment in a wonderful series. Now I have to wait for the next one - Uggh!

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

The Alchemist's Son: Doctor Illuminatus

The Alchemist's Son: Doctor Illuminatus is by Martin Booth. This is the first book in a trilogy called The Alchemist's Son. Pip & Tim move into their new English country estate and discover Sebastian. He says he is the son of a famous alchemist and has been "sleeping" for several centuries. He only wakes when the evil alchemist de Loudeac is about to try another scheme to take over the world. He is awake now because de Loudeac has returned. Can three children save the world from the evil de Ludeac? This is a great story. It combines action and lots of historical information as well. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

H.I.V.E.: The Overlord Protocol

H.I.V.E.: The Overlord Protocol is by Mark Walden. This is the second in the series by Walden. It is every bit as wonderful as the first book. Otto and Wing are allowed off the island to attend Wing's father's funeral only to discover it is a trap masterminded by Cypher - the most ruthless member of G.L.O.V.E. Cypher wants the overlord protocol, a device that can help him take over the world. He also wants control of H.I.V.E. and Nero dead. Can Otto save H.I.V.E. and Dr. Nero from the traitor in their midst? A great read! Can't wait for the next one!

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.


Snake is by Jeff Stone. The third installment in The Five Ancestors series continues with Seh, the snake, who struggles to find his brothers and save the Dragon Scrolls. He joins a powerful band of bandits and discovers his mother and father. Now, with the bandits, Seh, Fu, and Malao seek to keep the scrolls safe from Ying and find the rest of their Cangzhen brothers. But the plot thickens...

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident

Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident is by Eoin Colfer. The second book in this series is better than the first. Artemis discovers his father is alive and being held by the Russian Mafia. He must come up with a plan to get him back. Holly discovers a human is arming the goblins and the first person that comes to her mind is Artemis. She and Root kidnap Artemis and Butler to get at the truth and then seek their aid to uncover the real traitor before it's too late. An exciting read.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.


Wolfcry is by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. The fourth volume of The Kiesha'Ra focuses on Oliza, the heir to both the avian and serpiente thrones. Even though there has been peace in Wyvern's Court for years the avians and serpiente still suffer from fear, distrust, and prejudice. Oliza struggles to choose a mate who will bring the two groups together instead of driving them apart. All she really wants is a future where she can choose a mate she loves without inciting war. But is that even possible? Things worsen when she is kidnapped and then escapes into wolf territory. With the help of a new friend, Betia, Oliza tries to return home to save her people from themselves. Can she?

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10 - AC (mature thematic content).

Forest of the Pygmies

Forest of the Pygmies is by Isabel Allende. The final installment of the Alex and Nadia trilogy begun in City of the Beasts. Alex and Nadia find themselves in Africa with Alex's grandmother who is writing a story for International Geographic about an elephant safari operation. As they are leaving to go home a missionary appears and asks their help in finding two fellow missionaries lost in pygmy country. The team agrees to help Brother Fernando ands finds themselves lost in the swamps of Ngoube when their plane crashes. They decide to help the natives who are trapped in a harsh world of slavery, poaching, and corruption. In the process of helping the natives Alex and Nadia discover the depth of their relationship as well. You find yourself wishing for another installment in the series.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10 - AC (some mature thematic content).

A Certain Slant of Light

A Certain Slant of Light is by Laura Whitcomb. Helen is a ghost haunting a high school English teacher. For the first time in 130 years she realizes someone can see her. It is a young boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. The fact that he is in a body and she isn't causes their first problem. As they struggle to find a way to be together they begin to discover the secrets of their past lives and those of the two young people they come to possess. A strange, but strangely enchanting, love story. It reminds you a little of Ghost, but it is harder to follow in the beginning. You come to love Helen and James and to hope they get to be together, even as you begin to feel for their hosts, Billy and Jenny, and hope things improve for them as well. This book is a good read, although it contains non-graphic sexual references, violence, and profanity. It also takes some pot shots at Jenny's Christian parents that may be disturbing to some readers. The ending is tender and sweet, if somewhat unsatisfying.

Ratings: 10th grade - 7 out of 10 - P (profanity) - S (non-graphic sexual references) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content).

The Faerie Path

The Faerie Path is by Frewin Jones. On the day before her 16th birthday, Anita travels from modern-day London to the world of Faerie. She discovers she is Tania daughter of King Oberon and Queen Titania. He boyfriend, Evan, is really Edric, servant of the faerie lord Gabriel Drake, who Tania was to marry before her disappearance. She comes to accept her true identity, but never loses her love for her mortal parents. She also discovers all is not well in Faerie. There is something creepy about Gabriel and her sisters Rathina and Eden. Now that she's found Faerie can she stay? Is she really to marry Gabriel or was he the reason she left all those centuries ago? A great beginning to what promises to be an enchanting series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.


Bloodline is by Kate Cary. This book is almost like a sequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula. It takes place in 1916-17 during World War I. While Dracula was killed in Stoker's tale, his evil was not. The story centers around Quincey Harker, the son of Jonathon and Mina from the original tale. John Shaw is sent to the front lines in France and placed under Harker's command. He begins to notice that his commander is stranger, cruel, and capable of impossible feats. After being wounded he is returned to England to the hospital that once counted Renfield as one of its patients. He is nursed back to health by Mary Seward and the two soon fall in love. When Harker shows up and begins to court John's sister Lily the story really takes off. This tale is every bit as dark as Stoker's original and just as thrilling to read. A great book for gothic horror fans!

Ratings: 9th grade - 10 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity) - S (mild sexual references) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content).

Enter the Enchanted

Enter the Enchanted is by K. A. Applegate. This is the third book in the Everworld series. It is told from April's point of view. Having escaped the Aztecs April, Jalil, Christopher, and David now find themselves facing Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table. Merlin has sent his dragon for Senna, but Loki shows up to claim her for his own. Why does everyone want Senna? Is she a victim or a participant in what is happening to the four friends? April struggles with her desire to go home and her feelings for her half-sister. We are left wondering after the Vikings, the Aztecs, and the ancient Britons what gods the foursome will run into next?

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The People of Sparks

The People of Sparks is by Jeanne DuPrau. Lina, Doon, and the other people from the underground city of Ember try to fit in with the people of Sparks who took them in. Will it work? Can an extra four hundred people be absorbed by one small group of villagers who are barely making it themselves? As the tension mounts, events seem to be leading the two groups to violent conflict. Can these two groups become one? The second book in the Ember series asks deep questions about human nature in a very entertaining and young adult centered way. Can't wait for the next installment in the series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.