Friday, December 31, 2010

The Oxford Book of War Poetry

The Oxford Book of War Poetry was edited by John Stallworthy. An epic collection of war poetry from all eras by a wide range of poets. It is arranged in chronological order and has a selection of footnotes to explain the various battles referred to in the poems. A magnificent collection of poetry, every poetry lover should own this anthology.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman is by Jon Krakauer. This biography of the life of Pat Tillman also looks at Afghanistan and its history as well. This book is full of profanity and violence, but nothing that you wouldn't expect in a story of military life and the reality of terrorism. A fascinating and well researched book. It does take an anti-Bush slant, so if this will bother you consider yourself informed.

Ratings: Adult - 8 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence).


Tunnels is by Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams. The first book in a charming new series. Will Burrows and his dad love to engage in archaeological digs. When they discover a tunnel beneath London they believe they are on the brink of a major find. When his father disappears Will is determined to find him. Will and his friend Chester decide to go after Will's father and discover an entire world beneath our own. When both boys are captured by the "underworlders" they begin to despair of ever finding Mr. Burrows or making it home. A series boys will enjoy.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me is by Kristen Chandler. Chandler's first novel is about sixteen-year-old K.J. and her father who live near Yellowstone National Park. Her mother has died and her father runs an outfitting business taking visitors hunting, hiking, or fishing. K.J. has been chosen as the editor of the school paper. She begins working on a story about the reintroduction of wolves into the park with a new boy, Virgil, whose mother studies animals. Not everyone though is thrilled to have the wolves back in the park. This charming coming of age story follows K.J.'s attempt to become her own person. A wonderful read girls will thoroughly enjoy and relate to.

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

The Journal of Curious Letters

The Journal of Curious Letters is by James Dashner. The first book in The 13th Realty series. A fascinating series both boys and girls will enjoy. Tick Higginbottom receives a letter from a mysterious person named M.G. The letters inform the thirteen-year-old Tick that events have been set in motion that could result in the destruction of reality. Tick will receive 12 riddles and if he solves them he will be able to save the day, but he will be in danger if he attempts to solve the riddles. What will Tick do? Will he be able to solve the riddles in time? A really exciting series. The involvement of Tick's father is a nice twist since most modern books tend to make parents look either evil or incompetent.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Time Paradox

The Time Paradox is by Eoin Colfer. The sixth book in the Artemis Fowl series. Artemis Fowl's mother is dying. The only cure lies in the brain fluid of an animal Artemis himself sold into extinction when he was ten years old. His only choice is to travel back in time with Holly and stop himself from killing the last silky sifaka lemur and return in time to save his mother. Can Artemis outsmart himself? Will he change the future while trying to change the past? Another exciting installment in this charming series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.


Inkdeath is by Cornelia Funke. The final installment in the Inkheart Trilogy. Meggie and her family are trapped inside the Inkworld now controlled by the evil Adderhead. Even Fenoglio has lost control over the characters he created and the story seems to be spinning into chaos. Can Mo set things right? Will they ever return back home to Elinor, who believes her family to be lost between the covers of a book?

Ratings: 7th grade - 6 out of 10.

Usborne Illustrated Guide to Greek Myths and Legends

Usborne Illustrated Guide to Greek Myths and Legends is by Cheryl Evans and Anne Millard. A wonderful introduction to Greek Mythology. The illustrations are magnificent.

Ratings: 5th grade - 8 out of 10.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is by Sherman Alexie. A magnificent book and definitely on the list of the 1001 books you must read before you die. Written in the form of a diary, Alexie examines the life of Junior a budding cartoonist living on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Junior was born with numerous medical problems which assures he is picked on by everyone. Determined to receive a good education he leaves the reservation to go to a public school in a local town. Now he is hated by both the whites and the Indians. A brutally honest look at the lives of modern Native Americans. This book has mature thematic content and profanity, but none of this is gratuitous it is essential to the story. If you only read one book this year, make it this one!

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

So B. It

So B. It is by Sarah Weeks. A wonderful book! A must read! Heidi and her mentally disabled mother are cared for by their unconventional neighbor. A mysterious word in her mother's vocabulary starts her on a journey to discover her family's identity and by extension her own. Who or what is "soof"? She travels alone from Nevada to New York to search out the secrets of her past, but are some secrets better not known? What happens when the answers you discover are not the answers you really wanted? You will laugh and cry your way through this delightful book.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Lionboy: The Truth

Lionboy: The Truth is by Zizou Corder. The final installment in the Lionboy series. Charlie has found his parents and returned the lions to Africa. Just when he thinks everything is going his way, he is kidnapped by Maccomo and taken to the Corporacy's Caribbean headquarters. His parents, the lions, and the King Boris are following close behind. Can they rescue Charlie and take down the Corporacy? A fine ending to a charming series. 

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.  

Virus on Orbis 1

Virus on Orbis 1 is by P.J. Haarsma. The first book in The Softwire series. Johnny, his sister, and 200 other children have spent years on a seedship headed for the Rings of Orbis. Their parents left Earth for a new start, but all the adults died on the voyage. Once the ship arrives the kids discover they are little better than slaves. But Johnny is a softwire - someone who can enter any computer with his mind - and since the central computer on Orbis 1 is malfunctioning Johnny may be the only one who can fix it. He finds himself involved in an alien power struggle and it's up to him to prevent a war. Boys will enjoy this science fiction book that reads like a virtual reality video game.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Z. Rex

Z. Rex is by Steve Cole. A wonderful opening to a new series called The Hunting. Boys will LOVE this series. Adam's father designs cutting-edge video games and his son helps him test them. When his dad disappears, Adam finds himself being chased by armed men and a - dinosaur! Is the Z. Rex real or a part of the video game his dad was working on? More importantly is it his friend or enemy? The only thing Adam is sure of is that the dinosaur is after him. A great series!!

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10.

The Monstrumologist

The Monstrumologist is by Rick Yancey. The first in Yancey's new Monstrumologist series. This book is for older readers. There is no sex or profanity, but the vocabulary and level of violence is definitely not for young readers. This book is set up to read like a journal. Will Henry is an orphan apprenticed to a monstrumologist, the science of studying monsters. When a grave robber brings the corpse of a young girl entwined with the corpse of a supposedly extinct monster called Anthropophagus to their door, Will and his mentor find themselves in a race against time to hunt these monsters before they kill again. This book is deep and at times slow, yet worth the time invested. The violence is quite intense and the vocabulary might be difficult for young readers.

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


Intertwined is by Gena Showalter. The first book in the new Intertwined series. Many adult readers recognize Showalter for her two best-selling series Atlantis and Lords of the Underworld. Intertwined is for young adult readers. Sixteen-year-old Aden has been shuffled from institution to institution; most people believe he is crazy. But this teen has four disembodied spirits sharing his body. Then he meets a girl who silences the voices in his head. Aden, Mary Ann, a vampire princess and her werewolf bodyguard set out to free the spirits and set Aden free. Sounds easy, not a chance. A great new series.

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

The Siege of Macindaw

The Siege of Macindaw is by John Flanagan. The sixth book in The Ranger's Apprentice series. Will and Horace must lay siege to Castle Macindaw in order to rescue Alyss and prevent the Scotti from invading the kingdom with the help of the traitor Keren. Can Will, Horace, an old healer, and 30 shipwrecked Skandians defeat a castle full of traitors and save both the kingdom and Alyss? A wonderful addition to a magnificent series both boys and girls will love.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

The Prophecy of the Sisters

The Prophecy of the Sisters is by Michelle Zink. The first in a new trilogy of supernatural thrillers. Set in America of the late 1800s, this is the tale of two sisters, Alice and Lia, who find themselves caught up in an ancient prophecy. One sister is the Gate, who will bring forth Samael an ancient demon who will bring about the end of the world, and one is the Guardian who will prevent Samael from coming through the gate. As each sister strives to fulfill her role in the prophecy everyone they love is caught in between them as they battle. An exciting new series girls will enjoy. It does contain spiritualism, astral projection, speaking with the dead, and other similar ideas.

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

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Seeing Redd

Seeing Redd is by Frank Beddor. The second book in The Looking Glass Wars series. Alyss has defeated her Aunt Redd and has begun her rule in Wonderland. When Glass Eyes begin to attack Wonderland Alyss wonders if Redd and the Cat have freed themselves or if she has another enemy to deal with. Alyss must also deal with her feelings for Dodge, the disappearance of Homburg Molly and the disobedience of Hatter.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Little Prince

The Little Prince is by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The classic tale of love and a child's view of the world. A little prince from another planet leaves home to visit the universe and finds himself on Earth. Pride made him leave his home and he learns from a fox the true meaning of life. A must read for everyone.

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Doll's History and Her Impact on Us

The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Doll's History and Her Impact on Us is by Tanya Lee Stone. A wonderful and balanced look at an American icon and her affect on American culture. Love her or hate her, everyone has an experience with Barbie to share. Stone does a wonderful job of weaving the story of Ruth Handler, Barbie's creator, with a discussion of the various opinions regarding the doll's controversial place in Americana.

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The White House, I, Q the Series

The White House is by Roland Smith. The second book in the I, Q series. The ghost cell is planning a terrorist attack in Washington, D.C. Angela, Q, and the S.O.S. Team must help the President stop them. There's one small problem - there is a terrorist mole in the White House. Can the team find the mole without exposing Angela's mother? Can they prevent the attack on our nation's capital? This book is much better than the previous one. The action starts from the beginning and rushes right on to the cliff-hanger of an ending.

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