Sunday, March 21, 2010


Shiver is by Maggie Stiefvater. The first book in a new series called the Wolves of Mercy Falls. There are wolves in Mercy Falls, Minnesota. Grace knows, she was attacked by a pack of wolves when she was young. Ever since she has been fascinated with a particular wolf with yellow eyes. Then Sam appears; handsome, kind, yellow-eyed Sam. If Sam is a werewolf and Grace was bitten why didn't she ever change? Is there any chance for Sam and Grace to be together? What about the rest of the pack? This is a great story for those who were Jacob lovers in the Twilight series - but the writing is much better.

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

Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors

Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors is by Jenny Nimmo. This is the fourth book in the Children of the Red King series. It's another semester at Bloor's Academy. Charlie Bone is back and must rescue Billy Raven from his new parents at the spooky Passing House. But he discovers a secret there that might free Billy and allow him to find his father at the same time. He must also discover the identity of the newest endowed child. What a way to start a school year! A charming series for those who enjoyed Harry Potter.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Last Olympian

The Last Olympian is by Rick Riordan. The final installment in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The war between the Olympians and the Titans is coming to a close. As Percy's 16th birthday approaches he must face a choice that will determine the fate of western civilization forever. Will he destroy the Greek gods as the prophecy seems to indicate? Can he find a way to save his family and friends? Is he even the hero everyone believes him to be? A fast paced thriller that brings the series to a close and yet leaves you hoping you haven't heard the last of Percy Jackson.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Oath Breaker

Oath Breaker is by Michelle Paver. The fifth book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. Torak and Renn head for the Deep Forest to kill the Soul Eater Thiazzi who has just killed Torak's kinsman and taken the last piece of the fire opal. But there is a rottenness at the heart of the Deep Forest clans that threatens to create a war that will engulf everyone. Can Torak kill the Oak Mage before it's too late? Can he recover the fire opal? Can he and Renn stop a war between the clans? This is such a good series! I can't wait to see what happens next.

Ratings: 8th grade - 10 out of 10.


Devoured is by Amanda Marrone. I have one word for this book - CREEPY! Marrone's books get better with every one I read. Megan has two problems. Number One: her new boyfriend has a clingy best friend named Samantha. Number Two: she is haunted by her dead twin sister's ghost. She takes a job at the Land of Enchantment theme park to keep an eye on Ryan and meets Luke. Luke also sees ghosts and promises to help her assist Remy to move on. But there is an ancient evil at work in the theme park. Can Remy save Megan before it's too late? A really scary modern retelling of Snow White.

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

Ninth Grade Slays

Ninth Grade Slays is by Heather Brewer. The second installment in the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod. High school promises to be as bad as middle school for Vlad. He heads for Siberia with his uncle to have an ancient family friend train him in the use of his powers. He'd better learn quickly because he is being stalked back home by a slayer as well as a reporter for the school paper. A very cool series boys will love.

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

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood is by Ann Brashares. The traveling pants are off on another summer of adventure. Bridget heads for Alabama to confront her grandmother and rediscover her past. Carmen struggles with her mother's new relationship. Tibby heads for a summer film program. Lena must deal with her feelings for Kostos and a secret her mother is keeping from her. Even better than the first book. Makes you long for the third summer and wish you had a pair of jeans like these and three friends to share them with.

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

The Fire Eternal

The Fire Eternal is by Chris D'Lacey. This is the fourth book in the Last Dragon Chronicles. David Rain vanished in the Arctic five years ago. But is he dead? His five-year-old daughter, Alexa, doesn't seem to think so. As the weather worsens and the ice caps melt, the Pennykettle dragons ban together to help save the world from the Fain and bring back dragons. This book is confusing and seems scattered in places. It does Al Gore proud though on the global warming front. Not the best book in the series, although it is quite exciting in places.

Ratings: 8th grade - 5 out of 10.

The Skin I'm In

The Skin I'm In is by Sharon G. Flake. Maleeka is a black student who is picked on by her black classmates due to her darker skin color. Then Miss Saunders arrives. The new English teacher has a skin condition which makes her the butt of all the jokes as well. She challenges everything in Maleeka's world: her ability to write, her "friendship" with Charlese, and her desire for friendship with Caleb. Will she be able to stand up for what's right? Will she be comfortable with the skin she's in?

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

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is by J.K. Rowling. Book 4 in the Harry Potter series finds Harry returning to Hogwarts for another year. He wants to play Quidditch and dream about Cho Chang. Instead he finds himself mysteriously entered in the famous Triwizard Tournament that will be held at Hogwarts this year. Can he win? Can he survive? And what about Voldemort?

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.


Inkspell is by Cornelia Funke. The second book in the Inkheart series. Dustfinger finally finds a storyteller to read him back to Inkworld. Distraught, Farid seeks out Meggie and convinces her to read him into the book. She decides to join him to satisfy her desire to see Fenoglio's world as her mother did. They find both Dustfinger and Fenolgio and discover the story isn't progressing as Fenoglio wrote it. When Mo and Resa also find themselves read back into Inkworld Meggie must find a way to save her parents from the Adderhead. Can Fenoglio set things right? Will this story have a happy ending? This book contains mild profanity. It starts slowly but the action really picks up at the end.

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

Dread Locks

Dread Locks is by Neal Shusterman. The first in his Dark Fusion series, this is a creepy tale. When fifteen-year-old Parker Baer sees moving vans at the mansion next door he is mildly interested in his new neighbor. He soon meets Tara, a girl with shining golden dread locks who always wears dark sunglasses, even indoors. She lives alone in a house full of stone statues. Parker begins to notice that every student she "befriends" at school begins to behave in a very strange fashion. What is going on? What will it cost him to stop it? A really spooky retelling of Greek myth.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods is by Suzanne Collins. The third installment of the charming Underland Chronicles. A plague is sweeping through the Underland and affecting all warmbloods (humans, bats, and rats alike). Gregor and Boots must return to the Underland to defeat the plague and this time their mother goes with them. When Gregor's mom contracts the plague Gregor has no choice but to take Boots on a dangerous quest. His discovery of the origin of the plague shakes the Underland to its foundations. Another wonderful tale in this exciting series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Tales from Shakespeare

Tales from Shakespeare is by Charles and Mary Lamb. Originally published in 1807 this book is almost as classic as the plays by the bard himself. The Lamb's have taken 20 of Shakespeare's best plays and retold them in a more modern style. All character dialogue however, comes straight from the plays. A great way to become familiar with these masterpieces of literature before you tackle the original versions. Highly recommended for everyone who wants a better understanding of Shakespeare's great works in a readable modern format.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles is by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson travel to the moor to investigate the death of Sir Charles Baskerville, who was frightened to death by a spectral hound that is the curse of his family. Is his heir Sir Henry in danger? Can even Sherlock Holmes defeat a ghostly hound? Arguably one of the best Holmes' mysteries ever written.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

The Story of My Life

The Story of My Life is by Helen Keller. Helen's moving autobiography also contains a sampling of her letters. Helen is amazingly upbeat and never seems to feel sorry for herself even when things aren't going her way. A great look into the life of an amazing woman and role model for all of us. A great introduction to nonfiction.

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10.