Monday, September 19, 2011

All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front is by Erich Maria Remarque. One of the most spellbinding war novels of all time. This is the story of Paul Baumer, a young German soldier, who finds himself living the terror of trench warfare during WWI. Along with his buddies from school he enlists in the German Army out of a sense of patriotism and adventure and soon discovers that war truly is hell. A magnificent book. A must read classic.

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

The Last Camel Died at Noon

The Last Camel Died at Noon is by Elizabeth Peters. The sixth book in the Amelia Peabody series. The Emerson's have been asked to look for a missing Viscount's son and daughter-in-law who disappeared in the Sudan ten years earlier. Neither believe the cryptic message, but the treasure map is irresistible. They soon find themselves captured by soldiers from a hidden city straight out of an H. Rider Haggard novel. Can they escape with their lives or will they be sacrificed to the ancient Egyptian gods they have researched for so long? Exciting, action-packed, and filled with typical Peabody humor a book all Amelia lovers will thoroughly enjoy.

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

Cat's Cradle

Cat's Cradle is by Kurt Vonnegut. Dark humor at its very very best. A journalist writing a book about a famous scientist discovers the scientist has invented a substance that could destroy the world. "Ice-nine" turns liquids into solids instantly. John finds himself on an island with the dead scientist's three children, one of whom is a midget, as the world comes to an end. Complete with original theology from a calypso singer; a banana republic dictator; and a blackly fatalistic, yet hysterically funny take on the future, this book is Vonnegut at his very best. A banned book well worth reading.

Ratings: 10th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - S (non-graphic sexual references).

Monday, September 12, 2011


Tangerine is by Edward Bloor. Paul Fisher's brother, Eric, is a football hero. Paul is not! He plays soccer even though he suffers from a mysterious eye injury that happened when he was very young and which he doesn't remember. It has caused him to have to wear very thick glasses to see. His family moves to Tangerine, Florida so his father can take a new job. When a player on his brother's football team is struck by lightning and killed, Paul begins to learn some terrible secrets about his brother and about his own past. A fantastic book and a Reader's Corner Highly Recommended read.

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

Marie Curie: A Photographic Story of a Life

Marie Curie: A Photographic Story of a Life is by Vicki Cobb. A fantastic addition to this wonderful series of non-fiction books for young people. Not childish and yet not over a teenagers head, this is a great book about an amazing woman. The photos and timeline are beautifully done.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Monday, September 5, 2011

City of Ashes

City of Ashes is by Cassandra Clare. The second installment in The Mortal Instruments series. Valentine has stolen the second of the Mortal Instruments and Jace is suspected by the Inquisitor of helping their father. Now Clary and her friends must free Jace, prove his innocence, and prevent Valentine from bringing his army of demons into the mortal world. Clary must decide what to do about Simon and Jace. Would Jace really betray his beliefs to assist Valentine?

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


Schooled is by Gordon Korman. Cap Anderson has been raised his entire life on his grandmother's commune where he has been home schooled. He has never seen a television, been to a school, or tasted pizza. When Rain, his grandmother, falls and must go to a hospital, Cap is forced to live with a guidance counselor and attend a public middle school. As a prank, he is elected class President, but then his peaceful demeanor begins to win over the other students. Will Cap remain a joke or is the joke on the other students?

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

The Stone Child

The Stone Child is by Dan Poblocki. Eddie and his family move to Gatesweed, the hometown of Eddie's favorite author, Nathaniel Olmstead. Once there Eddie discovers that Olmstead mysteriously disappeared thirteen years earlier and hasn't been seen since. However it seems some of the creatures from his horror novels have been seen in the woods surrounding his old home. Now Eddie and his two new friends must break the code in an old Olmstead book Eddie has found, banish the creatures from Gatesweed, and solve the mystery of Olmstead's disappearance, all before Eddie's mother can finish her novel and bring to life the scariest creature of all.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Island Realm

Island Realm is by Rebecca Moesta & Kevin J. Anderson. The first book in the Crystal Doors series. Gwen and Vic are fourteen-year-old cousins who live together after the deaths of Gwen's parents and the disappearance of Vic's mother. Vic's scientist father creates a magic crystal door and transports Gwen & Vic to the magical island world of Elantya. Now they find themselves embroiled in a war between the Elantyans and the sea-dwelling merlons. They must learn to live in their new-found home, find a way to return to their world, and discover their own mysterious roots. A charming new series both boys and girls will enjoy.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.


Relic is by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. The opening book in the Pendergast series. The New York Museum of Natural History is getting read to open a new exhibit. Days before the important exhibit is set to open two young boys are found murdered, or perhaps slaughtered would be a better word. Then policemen, guards, and other museum employees begin to be found dead. Autopsies show the killer isn't human, but what is it? FBI Agent Pendergast is sent to the Museum to head up the investigation. Can Pendergast and Museum researcher Margo Green solve the mystery of the deadly killer in time to save the museum and themselves? A great tale of horror and science fiction, much better than Crichton's Jurassic Park.

Ratings: Adult - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence).