Sunday, October 17, 2010

Boys That Bite

Boys That Bite is by Mari Mancusi. The first book in the Blood Coven series. Sunshine and Rayne are twins. Sunshine is the typical high school girl and Rayne is the queen of all things goth. Sunshine has just been asked to the prom by the hottest guy in school and everything is going great right...wrong! Her sister talks her into going to a goth club where in the worst case of mistaken identity ever, she is bitten by Magnus. Now Sunshine is turning into a vampire and if she doesn't find a way to reverse it fast she'll be a vampire for the prom, and the rest of eternity. Typical teenage vampire fare.

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

The Magic Thief: Lost

The Magic Thief: Lost is by Sarah Prineas. The second book in The Magic Thief series. Conn has lost his locus stone and will do anything to find another one. He discovers that through the use of pyrotechnic spells he can communicate with the Magic of Wellmet.  But all is not well, shadows are creeping into Wellmet and people are being turned to stone. Join Conn as he sets out to find a new stone or a way to save the Magic yet again. A charming and fun filled book.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Disney At Dawn

Disney at Dawn is by Ridley Pearson. The second book in the Kingdom Keepers series. Everything seems to be going well for Finn and his friends until Amanda's sister Jez mysteriously disappears in the middle of a celebration. It also appears Maleficent and the Overtakers are behind it and they are trying to take over a computer server so they can control and create DHI's in the parks. This means that if Finn or his friends go to sleep they will slip into a coma - permanently. They must find Jez and stop the Overtakers before they fall asleep. Another exciting thrill ride from Pearson. All lovers of Disney will love this series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Blade of Fire

Blade of Fire is by Stuart Hill. The second book in The Icemark Chronicles. Almost twenty years have passed since Oskan and Queen Thirrin defeated the evil General Bellorum and the Polypontian army. Now they threaten the Icemark again and Thirrin, Oskan, their allies, and their children must rally once again to save the Icemark and its people from death and slavery. Their youngest child Sharley, crippled from a childhood disease, is being sent away to lead those from the Icemark who are being sent into exile in the South. Sharley can't help but feel he is being sent away because no one believes he is capable of fighting. His father prophesied that he would return with a blade of fire, and Oskan's prophecies are never wrong. But what is the blade of fire and how can a crippled boy save his people? A better and more exciting book than the first. 

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.   

The Garden of Eve

The Garden of Eve is by K.L. Going. After Eve's mother dies of cancer, her father moves her away from everyone she's ever known and all the places where memories of her mother linger to a barren apple orchard in upstate New York. Eve doesn't believe in magic anymore and hates being surrounded by death. As her father struggles to revive an orchard the townspeople say is cursed, Eve is given a mysterious seed and meets a boy who claims to be dead. A touching fairy tale of love, death, and re-birth. A must read book!

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Where I Want to Be

Where I Want to Be is by Adele Griffin. Griffin's books are strange and haunting and this one is no exception. Jane and Lily are sisters and were always very close until it became clear that Jane was not like everyone else. For Jane the boundary between make-believe and reality is cloudy at best. When Jane dies Lily must learn to cope with her memories and a world that has changed. But is Jane really gone, or is she still watching from the other side? A poignant tale of living with a sibling who has a mental illness. The point of view in this story switches between Lily (1st person) and her dead sister Jane (3rd person). This book can be confusing, but it is worth the effort to read.

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

Jason's Gold

Jason's Gold is by Will Hobbs. Another stellar effort by this wonderful author. Boys especially will not be able to get enough of Hobbs. When fifteen-year-old Jason learns his brothers have headed north into the heart of the Klondike gold rush, he decides to follow them on his own. On the way he learns about survival and greed, and makes some new friends as well - a young writer named Jack London and a black and white huskie named King. An historically accurate story of the excitement and terror that was the Alaskan Gold Rush.

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10.

The True Meaning of Cleavage

The True Meaning of Cleavage is by Mariah Fredericks. Sari and Jess are just starting high school. They have been friends forever even though they are total opposites. When Sari falls for the hottest guy in school, who just happens to be the long-time boyfriend of the school's prettiest girl, Jess doesn't know what to do? David couldn't really be interested in Sari, or could he? What if he is? What will happen to Sari and where will that leave Jess? A much better and more mature book than Frederick's In the Cards series. A funny tale of high school, crushes, and friendship.

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

The Light-Bearer's Daughter

The Light-Bearer's Daughter is by O.R. Melling. The Chronicles of Faerie continue in this third thrilling installment. Dana's mother disappeared when she was very young. Her musician father wants to move back to his home in Canada, but if they leave how will her mother ever find them? Just when all seems lost Dana meets a Lady in the woods who promises Dana her heart's desire in return for a favor. Dana must undertake a perilous mission to deliver a message, but can Faerie ever be truly trusted? Melling weaves old Irish mythology and modern Ireland together seamlessly. It's hard to get enough of these books.

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

Eleventh Grade Burns

Eleventh Grade Burns is by Heather Brewer. In book four of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Vlad's life gets even more complicated. He has broken up with Meredith to protect her, but she is not happy about it - and neither is Vlad, especially when Joss the vampire slayer returns to kill him and makes a move on Meredith. Uncle Otis is awaiting trial, and probably execution, by the Council of Elders; and if all that isn't enough, a mysterious vampire named Dorian has decided Vlad would make a great midnight snack. You know Vlad will make it to 12th grade, as that will be the last book in the series, but this is one action packed ride. A very enjoyable series, for boys especially.

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

Ruined: A Novel

Ruined: A Novel is by Paula Morris. Rebecca is from New York, but when her father must travel to China for six months on business he sends her to stay with her Aunt Claudia in New Orleans. Stuck in a fancy prep school attended by the elite of the city, she finds herself in a world she never imagined. One night she sees a group of kids from her school sneak into the cemetery across the street and decides to follow them and see what's going on. There she meets Lisette, the only person who has really been friendly to her, only problem, Lisette is a ghost. A charming and creepy tale of curses, ghosts, and old blood in modern New Orleans.

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


Jealousy is by Lili St. Crow. The third installment in the Strange Angels series. Dru has made it to the Schola Prima, the home of the Order, but things are even more complicated here. Her only protectors, Graves and Christophe, are so jealous they are ready to kill each other - and there is the small problem of whether or not she can really trust Christophe, or anyone else for that matter. At the Schola Prima Dru learns she is not the only svetocha, and the redheaded Anna is not exactly happy to share her power and position with Dru. The traitor is still out there and so are Sergej and his army of suckers. What's a girl to do? Who's a girl to trust?

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


Linger is by Maggie Stiefvater. The second book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series. Grace and Sam are finally together. As Sam struggles to deal with his werewolf past and the new wolves Beck created before he changed for good, Grace must deal with her own issues. Why is she feeling sick suddenly? Is she really immune to the bite she received so long ago? What if she changes now that Sam is cured? The sequel is better than the first book. We get a closer look into Sam, Grace, her friend Isabel, and the new wolf Cole. What will happen to the wolves of Mercy Falls?

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

Letters from a Nut

Letters from a Nut is by Ted L. Nancy. Whoever this guy is, one thing is certain, he is a nut! This book is a collection of letters Nancy has sent to various businesses and groups over the years. Asking about everything from permission to bring his own vending machine to a hotel to how to market his 3-hole underwear, Nancy's letters are outrageous and outrageously funny - and he gets serious responses, which are equally funny. A great read when you need a laugh.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures is by Laurell K. Hamilton. This is the novel that introduces us to Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter. Anita is a combination of Buffy and Harry Dresden. Anita raises the dead and kills vampires - and other things that go bump in the night. After three master vampires are found murdered, the city's most powerful vampire makes Anita an offer she can't refuse, if she wants to live. Is there anyone Anita can trust? Is there anyway she can get out of this alive? A wonderful mix of dark humor and action this book is not recommended for those under 18.

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

Mystery of the Black Diamonds

Mystery of the Black Diamonds is by Phyllis A. Whitney. One of Whitney's many mysteries for young adults. Angie and her brother befriend an old prospector and on his death he leaves them a treasure map and a house in an old Colorado ghost town. What are the black diamonds? Can Angie and Mark find them before it's too late? Whitney is the master of detailed setting. You really live in her settings when you read her books. A great introduction to this magnificent author for younger readers.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.   

The Rag and Bone Shop

The Rag and Bone Shop is by Robert Cormier. A young girl is brutally murdered. A fragile young man named Jason was the last person to see her alive. The community is outraged and the killer must be caught. An expert interrogator is called in to get a confession from Jason. But is he guilty? Does that even matter? A frighteningly magnificent book. Cormier at his best. This book is sure to inspire some wonderful discussion.

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

Flight of the Fire Thief

Flight of the Fire Thief is by Terry Deary. The second installment in The Fire Thief trilogy. Prometheus continues his search for a human hero. Zeus and Hera continue to interfere and the Avenger gets some help from Paris and Achilles. This series is a true delight for all lovers of Greek mythology. It is filled with humor and action. Move over Percy Jackson.

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

In the Cards: Life

In the Cards: Life is by Mariah Fredericks. The third book in the In the Cards series finds Syd finally sitting down for her reading. All she ever wanted was to keep her family and friends safe and together. She's always been in the middle between her parents and between Anna and Eve. Now she sees the death card! Is it for her or someone else? Will her friendship or her parent's marriage die? Is there really any truth "in the cards"?

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


Mouse is by Jeff Stone. The sixth book in The Five Ancestors series. As this series winds down to its close, ShaoShu sneaks off to gather information for his friends. He stows away on the boat of the evil Tonglong and when found must pretend to help him to stay alive. But who is using whom? A wonderful continuation of the story line. You won't be able to wait for the 7th and final book that will decide the battle for the future of China.

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10.


Eleven is by Patricia Reilly Giff. Before his 11th birthday Sam finds a locked box in the attic with newspaper clippings about a missing child. The picture looks just like him. If only he could read! Caroline, the new girl in school, agrees to help him discover the secret of his past. Is Mack really his grandfather? Are his strange dreams dreams or memories? Who is he really? A wonderful tale of friendship and love.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Leaving Protection

Leaving Protection is by Will Hobbs. Robbie is 16 and ready to earn some money on his own. He signs on as deckhand to the famous fisherman Tor Torsen. Robbie is finally on his own living his dream of catching king salmon from dusk till dawn. But is Torsen really interested in fishing? When Robbie learns his secret, what will Torsen do to keep anyone else from finding out? Another great work by Hobbs.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Shadow Thieves

The Shadow Thieves is by Anne Ursu. The first installment in The Cronus Chronicles series. An exciting and humorous take on Greek mythology. Charlotte and her cousin Zee discover an evil Greek god named Phil is stealing the shadows of children to create an army to take over the Underworld from Hades. The two set out to find a cure and find themselves in the Underworld facing down Greek gods, Harpies, and other monsters. A very promising series for lovers of Greek mythology.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Morality for Beautiful Girls

Morality for Beautiful Girls is by Alexander McCall Smith. The third book in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Precious must move her agency into the same building as Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's auto repair shop. She has also been hired by a "Government Man" to prevent the murder of his brother and discover what is wrong with Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, who seems very depressed. Meanwhile Mma. Makutsi has her own case to solve and an auto repair shop to run.

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


Moonshine is by Alaya Johnson. Wow! This is a totally unique take on vampires. This book is a combination of Anita Blake Vampire Hunter and the Gangs of New York, or perhaps a female Harry Dresden. Set in Prohibition New York, Zephyr Hollis is a social activist who wants to fight for the rights of humans and Others. A mysterious djinn named Amir hires her to locate the local vampire mob boss to prevent the sale of a new blood-based street drug that will destroy the local vampire community. But does Amir have an ulterior motive for hiring Zephyr? Will her attraction to him get her killed? I think I'll call this "vamp noir". A very different take on the genre.

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

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is by Brian Selznick. A wonderful book in words and incredible drawings. Hugo is a young boy whose father has died. He went to live with his drunk uncle who cleans and repairs the clocks in the train station. When his uncle disappears Hugo must keep the clocks working so no one will discover he is alone and send him to an orphanage. While stealing parts from a toy shop to repair a mechanical man left him by his father, he is caught by the shopkeeper. This sets in motion a series of events that change Hugo's life forever. A magical piece of historical fiction.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

The Final Reckoning

The Final Reckoning is by Robin Jarvis. The final book in The Deptford Mice trilogy. The evil spirit of Jupiter has returned to encase the world in eternal winter. The Deptford mice feel his hatred. Then their allies are murdered, the bats flee, and the Starglass is stolen. Can Arthur, Audrey, Piccadilly, and Oswald save the world? Will any of them survive? A sad ending, but no battle against evil is won without cost. A great series! 

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10 - V (violence).