Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Red Carnelian

The Red Carnelian is by Phyllis A. Whitney. The first novel by this master of romantic thrillers. Linell Wynn, writes copy for a large department store. When her former fiancee is murdered in the store window she becomes a suspect. There are lots of others who wanted to kill Michael Montgomery and now it's up to Linell to find out who the killer is before he or she kills again.

Ratings: 9th grade - 9 out of 10.


Dragon is by Jeff Stone. The final book in The Five Ancestors series. The Emperor has been kidnapped and only the young monks from Cangzhen Temple and their friends can save him from Tonglong's evil plans. A rousing tale of kung fu, danger, and adventure that all boys will love. A fitting end to a very enjoyable series.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Thirteenth Night

Thirteenth Night is by Alan Gordon. The first book in A Fools' Guild Mystery series. This tale picks up where Shakespeare's Twelfth Night leaves off. The Duke of Orsino has been murdered and the fool Theophilus, disguised as Feste, returns to solve the mystery surrounding the Duke's death and prevent anyone else in the family from being killed. A wonderful tale of misdirection, political intrigue and double crosses. This series brings 11th century Europe to life. A Reader's Corner highly recommended series. 

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

Emily's Runaway Imagination

Emily's Runaway Imagination is by Beverly Cleary. Young Emily lives in a small town in Oregon. Automobiles are brand new inventions and libraries are something found only in large cities. But Emily wants a library and sets out to get one. Follow her imaginative journey to get a library and read Black Beauty. Young readers will enjoy this delightful tale.

Ratings: 5th grade - 6 out of 10.

Z Raptor

Z Raptor is by Steve Cole. The second installment in The Hunting series. Adam thought it was all over. He thought he and his father were safe. Now he has been kidnapped again and finds himself on a small Pacific island loaded with Z raptors created by Geneflow. He must stop Geneflow and find a way to save himself and the other captives on the island. Boys will love this tale of courage and violence.

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

Betrayal on Orbis 2

Betrayal on Orbis 2 is by P.J. Haarsma. The second book in The Softwire series. Johnny and his friends are now on Orbis 2 with a new Guarantor. They are put in charge of the Samirans, large aquatic aliens, who cool the crystals on Orbis. Johnny is the only person who can speak to these creatures and he is tasked to find out what is wrong with them as their work rule is coming to an end. What he discovers endangers all of Orbis and it's up to Johnny to save the day again. If you liked the first book you will love the second.

Ratings: 6th grade - 6 out of 10.


Claws is by Dan Greenburg. Fourteen-year-old Cody runs away from his home in New York City and an abusive mother. He ends up working at a tiger ranch in Texas. He is enjoying his job and decides to help out his boss who has been accused of murdering her missing brother. Cody finds his inner strength to stand up to the tigers and his mother. Boys will enjoy this story even though the ending is a little weak.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

Sand Dollar Summer

Sand Dollar Summer is by Kimberly K. Jones. Lise is twelve, she lives with her mom and her younger brother who doesn't talk. Her dad left long ago, but everything is going well until their mother is badly injured in a car accident. Lise, Free, and their mother go to live in an old house on a remote Maine beach for the summer so her mother can recuperate. Free and her mother love the ocean, but Lise is afraid. It's just so big! As the summer drags on Lise learns lessons about herself and overcomes her fear. A charming story for girls.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Flight is by Sherman Alexie. Zits is a young half blood Native American who has spent his life in foster homes after his mother dies and his father disappears. As he is about to commit a terrible crime he finds himself thrown back in time. He finds himself in the bodies of different people: an Indian tracker, a modern pilot, an FBI agent during the civil rights era, a young Indian boy at Little Big Horn. Each materialization teaches him something about himself. When he returns to the present he finds he is changed by his experiences. This book contains quite a bit of profanity, but that is not surprising given the intense nature of the story. Alexie is well known for his powerful writing. A moving story with a touching ending.

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

The Everafter War

The Everafter War is by Michael Buckley. The seventh book in the Sisters Grimm series. Daphne and Sabrina's parents are finally awake, but the Everafter War is reaching the climax. Unable to escape Ferryport Landing, the Grimm family finds themselves in Prince Charming's compound and they have a traitor in their midst. As they fight the Master's plans they come face-to-face with a terrible betrayal.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Witch and Wizard

Witch and Wizard is by James Patterson. The first book in Patterson's new series. How would you feel if you were dragged from your home in the middle of the night, thrown in prison, starved, abused, and your crime - being a witch or wizard? Well this is what happens to Whit and Wisty Allgood. A "New Order" has taken over and books, music, movies, and magic are banned. Can Whit and Wisty escape, find their parents, and defeat the New Order using their new-found magic?

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10 - V (violence).

After Tupac and D Foster

After Tupac and D Foster is by Jacqueline Woodson. A heart-warming story of three young girls brought together by their love of Tupac's music. D shows up a short time before Tupac's first shooting. She, Neeka, and the narrator (who remains unnamed) become inseparable. Then D's mom appears and as quickly as she arrived she is gone. Then Tupac is shot again and he is gone as well. This story leaves us to ponder friendship and how even brief connections stay with us forever.

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

A Death in the Venetian Quarter

A Death in the Venetian Quarter is by Alan Gordon. Book number three in the Fools' Guild Mystery series. Theo & Viola are in Constantinople when the ships of the Fourth Crusade arrive instead of going to the Holy Land. The Fools' Guild doesn't want war, but how can a group of fools stop a war everyone else seems determined to start. Perhaps the answer lies in who killed the silk merchant in the Venetian Quarter and why. Lovers of history, mystery, and political suspense will adore this series. Gordon brings Constantinople of 1203 to life. A Reader's Corner highly recommended series.

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

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Laughing Corpse

The Laughing Corpse is by Laurell K. Hamilton. The second book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. Anita is called in by the police when a zombie runs amok in St. Louis eating people. To find this monster before it kills again Anita must go up against the most powerful voodoo priestess in town - who doesn't like Anita one little bit. She is also trying to avoid Harold Gaynor who wants her to perform a human sacrifice to raise a dead relative and then there's Jean-Claude the head vampire in town who wants Anita as his servant. How does one girl avoid a crime boss and a vampire, kill a man eating zombie, and still make her friend's wedding? Another excellent installment in a great series vampire and horror lovers will enjoy.

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

Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost

Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost is edited by Gary D. Schmidt. Frost is arguably the most famous American poet ever. His poems are filled with description and meanings that run far deeper than the words he uses. This is a magnificent introduction to his work.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Poetry for Young People: Walt Whitman

Poetry for Young People: Walt Whitman is edited by Jonathan Levin. Whitman can sometimes be difficult to grasp, but this small book makes it easy for young people to grasp his masterful poetry. The artwork is as amazing as the poetry.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

M is for Magic

M is for Magic is by Neil Gaiman. A collection of short stories written by Gaiman, who is a master of the creepy tale. He has been called the Stephen King for young adults. This book contains eleven tales, including one that became a part of The Graveyard Book. Other stories include such characters as a brave stray cat protecting his adopted family from the devil and a creepy jack-in-the-box that haunts those who have owned it. These stories are scary and humorous, rich and satisfying.

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

Poetry for Young People: Carl Sandburg

Poetry for Young People: Carl Sandburg is edited by Frances Schoonmaker Bolin. Sandburg wrote some of the most moving poetry in American history. This small volume gives you a magnificent sample of his work that makes you want to dig deeper.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Poetry for Young People: Robert Browning

Poetry for Young People: Robert Browning is edited by  Eileen Gillooly. A wonderful collection of Browning's most famous verses. A must have for poetry lovers.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Poetry for Young People: Rudyard Kipling

Poetry for Young People: Rudyard Kipling is edited by Eileen Gillooly. A great continuation of this amazing series that introduces young people to poetry by the masters. More than twenty of Kipling's poems are represented in this lovely volume.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Night Tourist

The Night Tourist is by Katherine Marsh. The first book in a delightful new series for lovers of Greek mythology. Jack is a 9th grader who spends most of his time stuck in a book. Then a near fatal accident sends him to a doctor in New York. Jack hasn't been to New York since his mother died there 8 years previous. In Grand Central Terminal he meets a young girl who leads him to hidden tracks below the city and amazing adventures in New York's ghostly underworld. A very enchanting tale.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars is by Sara Shepard. The first book in a new series. Four friends, four ugly secrets that no one knows - or so each girl thinks. When they each begin to get messages from Alison, who disappeared years earlier, they begin to wonder if their secrets are out. But what about the HUGE secret they shared with Alison? This series is The Clique on steroids. Four bratty little rich girls with totally dysfunctional families, and parents who need to care more about their kids than their own issues. If you liked The Clique series you will like this one, although it is geared toward much older readers.

Ratings: 10th grade - 6 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non graphic sexual references).

The Oxford Book of War Poetry

The Oxford Book of War Poetry is edited by Jon Stallworthy. A magnificent selection of war poetry throughout time. This volume includes well known as well as more obscure poems and covers pro- and antiwar poetry. Authors included in this compilation are Homer, Virgil, Donne, Milton, Coleridge, Shelley, Tennyson, Rimbaud, Hardy, Yeats, Ginsberg, Levertov, Heaney, and many more.

Ratings: 10th grade - 8 out of 10 - P (some war related profanity).

Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars is by David Guterson. A wonderfully poignant tale that takes place ten years after WWII. San Piedro Island is an isolated island north of Puget Sound. Over the years many Japanese immigrants settled on the island and began to assimilate - then came December 7, 1941 and the "day that will live in infamy". Residents of Japanese descent are removed to internment camps and white residents go off to fight in the war. The budding love affair between a white boy and a Japanese girl is destroyed, as are the lives of many residents. It is now 1954, a white fisherman is found dead on his boat and a Japanese man is on trial for his murder. The entire community must now come to grips with their collective guilt, prejudice, and anger generated by the war. A disillusioned man must face his feelings for the woman he once loved who married someone else. A gripping, moving, and amazingly descriptive tale. You can't help but be drenched in the atmosphere of San Piedro. A must read!

Ratings: 12th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non graphic sexual references).

Technically, It's Not My Fault: Concrete Poems

Technically, It's Not My Fault: Concrete Poems is by John Grandits. A cute collection of concrete poems from a teenage boy's point of view. If you've read Blue Lipstick, this book is from her brother's perspective. A wonderful way to get young readers to begin looking at poetry as something for them.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 of 10.

Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files

Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files is by Jim Butcher. This, the 13th book in the fantabulous Dresden Files series, is a compilation of short stories previously published in other anthologies. It also includes a previously unpublished short story that takes place after Changes (the 12th book in the series) and is told in Murphy's point of view. If you are a lover of Harry (and I don't mean Potter) you will love this collection of stories you may not have read before. Each story begins with a note from Butcher describing the story, the anthology it came from, and where it falls in the series. A great read to hold you over until #14 comes out.

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

Poetry for Young People: Lewis Carroll

Poetry for Young People: Lewis Carroll is edited by Edward Mendelson. A must have poetry reader for fans of Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and other nonsense fantasy favorites. A great read for poetry beginners.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.  

Poetry for Young People: Edward Lear

Poetry for Young People: Edward Lear is edited by Edward Mendelson. A fantastic selection of Lear's poetry. A great read for poetry beginners.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.