Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sizzling Sixteen

Sizzling Sixteen is by Janet Evanovich. The 16th novel in the Stephanie Plum series. When Cousin Vinny is held for ransom by a bookie, Steph, Lula, and Connie have a week to raise 1.3 million to get him back. First, do they want him back? OK, they need a job, but how to raise 1.3 million? Why, in the typical Stephanie fashion of course, one disaster after another. Much better than #15, this is another great laugh a minute, things blowing up, people dying, Morelli vs Ranger Stephanie adventure.

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

The Map That Breathed

The Map That Breathed is by Melanie Gideon. Billy is a young boy who can create gates between worlds. Nora is a young girl who can travel between worlds. When Billy sends Nora to Sanasarea the Provisioner, a monster who feeds on children, is released into our world. Only Nora and Billy together can defeat the Provisioner, but Nora has lost her memory and Billy can't travel to Sanasarea to find her. A great tale for boys and girls.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Midnight Magic

Midnight Magic is by Avi. Fabrizio and his master, Mangus the magician, are called to the palace by the king to determine if his daughter is really seeing a ghost. Fabrizio finds himself in the middle of a plot to take over the kingdom. Can he and his master get out of the palace alive? A charming story of plotting courtiers, ghosts, murdered princes, and magic.

Ratings: 5th grade - 8 out of 10.

The Haunted Bookshop

The Haunted Bookshop is by Christopher Morley. A wonderful book written in 1919. Roger Mifflin runs a unique used bookshop in Brooklyn. When he meets Aubrey Gilbert, an advertising salesman, and takes on a new assistant, Miss Chapman, the daughter of a rich businessman, his life suddenly gets very exciting. From wonderful observations on books to German spies and bomb plots, this book is a thoroughly enjoyable read. The language may seem complicated, but it is well worth the effort.

Ratings: 9th grade - 10 out of 10.

The Magic Thief

The Magic Thief is by Sarah Prineas. The first book in a new series about a young thief named Conn. When Conn tries to steal a magic stone from the wizard Nevery the stone should have killed him but doesn't. Nevery is so taken by this that he brings Conn on as his apprentice. Together they must discover where all the magic in Wellmet is going. To do so Conn must face his past and Nevery must learn to trust. A charming book and a promising series. 

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner is by Deborah Ellis. When the Taliban takes over Afghanistan and Parvana's father is arrested, this young girl disguises herself as a boy so she can work to support her family. A frightening tale of life under the Taliban and the hardships suffered by women in this society. Ellis based the novel on stories from women she meet in Afghan refugee camps. All royalties from the sale of this book are donated to Women for Women in Afghanistan.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pandora Gets Jealous

Pandora Gets Jealous is by Carolyn Hennesy. The first in a charming series about a young teenage Pandora who must find all the evils she released from the box and put them back. She is accompanied on her journey by two friends and a dog. Of course, the gods never make anything easy. A humorous and enjoyable way to introduce tweens to Greek Mythology. Girls will especially enjoy this series.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Romeo & Juliet

Romeo & Juliet is by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare's famous play about two star-crossed lovers. This play contains some of the most beautiful speeches in all of English literature - argubly, of course. All of Shakespeare's works are well worth the time and effort needed to read them and this one is no exception.

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

Wicked: Grigory Rasputin: Holy Man or Mad Monk?

Wicked: Grigory Rasputin: Holy Man or Mad Monk? is by Enid A. Goldberg & Norman Itzkowitz. Rasputin started out as a poor peasant from Siberia only to become one of the most powerful men in Russia. He claimed to have mystical powers, was he a holy man or a mad man? The Russian czars believed in him or did they? A fascinating little book that will definitely introduce young people to nonfiction reading.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book is by Neil Gaiman. Nobody Owens, or Bod, is a normal child. Well, if you consider living in a graveyard and being raised by ghosts normal. After his parents were murdered, the ghosts took Bod in to raise him and protect him from the man who killed his family. This is one of the creepiest and coolest books I've read in a long time. Bod's adventures teach him lessons he will need to learn in order to survive. I hope this isn't the last we'll hear of Nobody Owens.

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

The Last Leopard

The Last Leopard is by Lauren St. John. The third book in the Legend of the Animal Healer series. Martine, her grandmother, and Ben travel to Zimbabwe to help her grandmother's friend save her hotel and the last leopard. They must defeat hunters and treasure seekers in order to save Khan. This series gets more exciting with each new installment. Boys and girls will find this series enjoyable.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Fury & Dark Reunion

The Fury and Dark Reunion is by L.J. Smith. The third and fourth books in the Vampire Diaries series. Elena, Stefan, and Damon must learn to work together to defeat an evil entity that threatens the town and the brothers. Which brother will Elena choose? Will Elena be able to save her friends and her town? A dark but vibrant series.

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

The Falcon and the Serpent

The Falcon and the Serpent is by Cheryl A. Smith. An evil wizard is threatening the realms of Corigo and Paduan. Crotalus is stealing the souls of the children and holds the king's son prisoner. The only hope lies in the Forgotten City with a woman Falcon believes died years ago. A wonderful tale of valiant deeds, evil foes, and unexpected allies. This tale is Christian themed, but not overtly so. It is a fine and enjoyable story.

Ratings: 9th grade - 7 out of 10.

Love Bites

Love Bites is by Ellen Schreiber. The seventh installment in the Vampire Kisses series. When Alexander's best friend comes to town he really stirs things up. Sebastian falls for Becky and decides she's the one for him. Will Raven be the first Dullsvillian to be turned or will Becky stay human with Matt? Although girls tend to love this series it is SOOO time for it to end. Nevertheless fans will find this installment every bit as cute as the others.

Ratings: 7th grade - 5 out of 10.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Case of the Left Handed Lady

The Case of the Left-Handed Lady is by Nancy Springer. The second book in the Enola Holmes Mystery series. Enola is attempting to find a missing girl and at the same time avoid her brother Sherlock and a murderer who has already attempted to kill her once. Another charming entry in the series. Enola's struggle to maintain her independence in Victorian London is enchanting.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

Curse of the Bane

Curse of the Bane is by Joseph Delaney. The second book in The Last Apprentice series. Thomas and the Spook head for Priestown to destroy the Bane, an evil entity that is terrorizing the town. Instead the Quisitor arrests the Spook and Alice for practicing witchcraft and sentences them to burn at the stake. Now Thomas must save them both and destroy the Bane. Another exciting installment in this dark, but entertaining, series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It is by Susan Beth Pfeffer. The first book in The Last Survivors series. An asteroid has knocked the moon out of orbit and moved it closer to the earth. This causes massive tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Miranda and her family live in a small Pennsylvania town. This story is told in the format of Miranda's journal and tells the story of one family's fight for survival as "life as we know it" comes to an abrupt end. An exciting, endearing, and sometimes depressing tale.

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

The View from the Cherry Tree

The View from the Cherry Tree is by Willo Davis Roberts. Rob is having a bad weekend. His older sister is getting married and the house is in an uproar. His cat, S.O.B., is causing massive problems, and his grouchy neighbor beat him with a broom. He's ready to kill her, only someone else beat him to it. When he sees Mrs. Calloway murdered he attempts to tell everyone but no one will listen to him - except the murderer. A creepy exciting adventure.

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

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection is by Carol Burnett. A wonderfully charming and funny memoir. The book reads as if Burnett is sitting next to you telling you these stories over an adult beverage or two. You will laugh and cry right along with her. She tells stories of meeting and working with famous celebrities and producing her television show and specials. She also deals with the hardships she has had to endure: her chaotic childhood, her divorces, and the death of her daughter from cancer. A must read book even if you have never watched Carol perform.

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

Living on Impulse

Living on Impulse is by Cara Haycak. Mia is a high school student who loves to live dangerously. When she gets caught shoplifting, her mother insists she get a job to pay back the store. Mia is forced to confront the impulses in her life and look at why she does the things she does. She gets a job studying flies at the local university and starts re-building her life. Now she must also confront her beloved grandfather's impending death, her mother's alcoholism, and the possible discovery of the identity of her father. A wonderful story of the pain and joy involved in turning your life around. This book does contain some mature thematic content and profanity.

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