Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cleopatra: Egypt's Last & Greatest Queen

Cleopatra: Egypt's Last & Greatest Queen is by Susan Blackaby. A very good biography filled with pictures and graphics that will delight and inform. A great way to introduce nonfiction to younger readers and a fascinating look at the life of one of the most famous women in history.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Abigail Adams: A Photographic Story of a Life

Abigail Adams: A Photographic Story of a Life is by Kem Knapp Sawyer. A wonderful biography in a great series that introduces young readers to nonfiction. The pictures are amazing as well! This series covers many famous people from history, look for more examples here soon.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Discover the Destroyer

Discover the Destroyer is by K.A. Applegate. Book #5 in the Everworld series is told from David's point of view. David and his friends must head to the realm of the fairies to recover some treasure stolen from the dragon Nidhoggr. If they don't return the treasure they will be killed. So they must outwit a dragon and the fairies, and Senna or die. If you are enjoying this series, you will enjoy this installment.

Ratings: 7th grade - 6 out of 10 - V (violence) - MP (mild profanity).

Look for Me by Moonlight

Look for Me by Moonlight is by Mary Downing Hahn. Another creepy tale by this master of young adult creepiness. When Cynda's mom and stepfather head for Italy, she goes to stay with her dad and step mother at their old inn in Maine. Once there she hears rumors that Underhill is haunted by the ghost of a girl who was murdered there years before. Then Vincent Morthanos shows up and Cynda is captivated. Cynda is blind to his evil, is there any hope for her? A classic tale of horror from Hahn. This story makes use of the poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, a great tie in if you've never read this classic poem.

Ratings: 8th grade - 10 out of 10.

Max the Mighty

Max the Mighty is by Rodman Philbrick. Max is back! Still grieving over the loss of his friend, Max meets "Worm", a solitary girl in need of help. To protect her from her stepfather Max takes Worm and they head across America to find her real dad. Hunted by the police and Worm's stepfather, the only way to survive is to find help and confront their fears. A very good story. If you liked Freak the Mighty, you will love this one.

Ratings: 5th grade - 8 out of 10.

The Rose Bride: A Retelling of The White Bride and the Black Bride

The Rose Bride: A Retelling of The White Bride and the Black Bride is by Nancy Holder. A Once Upon a Time novel. Rose wonders about love, her father doesn't seem to love her and then her mother dies. Her father promptly remarries and Rose is stuck with a mean stepmother and greedy selfish step sister. Then her father dies - I know you are thinking Cinderella, but you would have the wrong fairy tale. This tale looks at the meaning of love and the sacrifice it involves. A wonderful tale.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.

Dead is the New Black

Dead is the New Black is by Marlene Perez. The first book in the new Dead is... series. Nightshade is a small town where strange things happen. Daisy feels left out since everyone in her family has psychic powers except her. When Daisy's mother enlists her older sister's help in solving a young girl's mysterious death, Daisy decides to help. She discovers a vampire may be the culprit, but can she catch the vampire before it kills again and still make the prom? A cute series lovers of Twilight will enjoy.

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

The Stowaway: A Tale of California Pirates

The Stowaway: A Tale of California Pirates is by Kristiana Gregory. When Carlito's father is killed by pirates he stows away on their ship to seek revenge. Soon he finds himself struggling to stay alive on a ship full of evil men. He begins to think escaping is more important than vengeance. A great story for younger boys.

Ratings: 5th grade - 7 out of 10.

Ghost in the Machine

Ghost in the Machine is by Patrick Carman. The second book in the Skeleton Creek series. This series has an ingenious hook in that there are videos that go along with the book which can be accessed through a website listed in the book. Ryan and Sarah must solve the mystery of the old dredge before it is destroyed. Can they find the missing gold? Can they escape the ghost of Joe Bush? The ending will surprise you. Boys and girls will enjoy this series.

Ratings: 5th grade - 8 out of 10.

Bird Lake Moon

Bird Lake Moon is by Kevin Henkes. Mitch's parents are getting a divorce. His father left them for another woman. He and his mother move in with her parents in their lake house. There he meets Spencer whose family owns the cabin next door. Spencer's family is also dealing with their own loss. Can these two young boys help each other through the pain of growing up?

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus: A Novel of Marriage, Motherhood, and Mayhem

The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus: A Novel of Marriage, Motherhood, and Mayhem is by Sonya Sones. This wonderful novel by Sones is for adults, still written in her usual free verse style. It is the story of a woman turning 50, facing the empty nest as her daughter leaves for college, and dealing with the challenges of growing older. This book is hilarious and heart warming. Any woman nearing this time of life will adore this book - which does not mean younger women will not find Sones' wit and wisdom appealing.

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

Cryptic Cravings

Cryptic Cravings is by Ellen Schreiber. The eighth installment in the seemingly never ending Vampire Kisses series. Jagger and Luna have returned to Dullsville and plan to open a dance club for humans and vampires. Alexander and Raven must try to convince them not to have a secret part of the club for vampires for fear that the secret that vampires exist will be too hard to keep. If you are a fan of this series you will enjoy this book as well. 

Ratings: 7th grade - 6 out of 10. 

Dark Moon

Dark Moon is by Steve Feasey. The second Wereling novel in this series. Trey and his friends must find a way into Caliban's fortress to steal a magical talisman that will save Lucien's life. But will everyone make it out alive? Will Alexa be able to cope with what her mother has become? As exciting as the first novel, the ending will surprise and whet the appetite for the next book in the series. Boys will really enjoy this series!

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Ice Queen

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman. A woman loses her mother when she was young. She has never really dealt with this and becomes a loner. One day she utters an idle wish to be struck by lightning - and her wish is granted. This event marks the beginning of her struggle to find herself and deal with her loss. A powerfully poignant story of loss, love, and redemption. A Reader's Corner highly recommended read.

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

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is by Carrie Ryan. The first book in a new series. Mary has been raised in a secluded secure village run by the Sisterhood, protected from the Unconsecrated by the Guardians. The Sisterhood has secrets they won't share to keep their power. When the Unconsecrated break through the fence and destroy her village, Mary and a handful of survivors must find somewhere else to go and in doing so must confront the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Singing the Dogstar Blues

Singing the Dogstar Blues is by Alison Goodman. Joss is seventeen and a rebel. She is studying time travel at a prestigious institute and she has just been chosen by the newest student as a partner. The new student is an alien named Mav. Joss is worried that Mav is scheduled to be assassinated by anti-alien groups and she has her own problems to solve. Is finding the identity of her father really the answer to all of her problems and Mav's? A great science fiction tale. A Reader's Corner recommended read.

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

The Fires of Fu Manchu

The Fires of Fu Manchu is by Cay Van Ash. It's 1917 and WWI is in full swing. Dr. Petrie is practicing medicine in Egypt. Then Nayland Smith appears; Dr. Fu Manchu is back and only Smith and Petrie can solve the mystery of the Midnight Sun and prevent the evil Dr. Fu Manchu from destroying the world. A magnificent text that brings Sax Rohmer's original characters back to life. Fans of Rohmer's series will love this novel. It's also a great introduction for those new to the Fu Manchu series.

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

Riot

Riot is by Walter Dean Myers. During the Civil War President Lincoln instituted a draft. The Irish in New York City rioted looting and beating blacks and those they believed to be rich. This story is written as a screenplay. It is the tale of a young girl, half black/half white and her experiences during the New York City riot of 1863. An engrossing piece of historical fiction.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

The Voyage of the Frog

The Voyage of the Frog is by Gary Paulsen. David's Uncle Owen died and left him a boat named "The Frog". David takes the boat out to give his uncle's ashes to the sea. Next thing he knows he's blown off course by a storm and must learn to survive on the open sea. An adventure tale Paulsen fans will love. 

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.  

Catching Fire

Catching Fire is by Suzanne Collins. The second book in The Hunger Games series. Katniss and Peta find themselves back in the Hunger Games as the rebellion against the Capitol escalates. This time the Capitol doesn't intend to let them out alive, but there is much more at stake than just their lives. A thrilling page turner! If you liked the first book, you'll love the second.

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

Smokin' Seventeen

Smokin' Seventeen is by Janet Evanovich. Number seventeen in the Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie is feeling pressure. Her mother wants her to choose between Morelli, Ranger, or an old high school classmate. Vinny is finding dead bodies addressed to Stephanie in the lot of the bond agency, she is left in charge of a dancing bear, and Morelli's grandmother has placed a curse on her. Another day in the life of Stephanie Plum. The wonderfully funny series continues.

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

Selected Poems 1957-1994

Selected Poems 1957-1994 is by Ted Hughes. A masterful selection of Hughes' work. Hughes' poetry is descriptive and poignant. He is a must read poet for all ages. His work does contain adult themes and language.

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

Poetry for Young People: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Poetry for Young People: Edna St. Vincent Millay is edited by Frances Schoonmaker. A must have poetry selection for young people and poetry lovers of all ages.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Poetry for Young People: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Poetry for Young People: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is edited by Frances Schoonmaker. A classic collection of poems by one of America's most brilliant poets.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Poetry for Young People: Robert Louis Stevenson

Poetry for Young People: Robert Louis Stevenson is edited by Frances Schoonmaker. A wonderful collection of poems young people will appreciate and enjoy.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Dark Life

Dark Life is by Kat Falls. This dystopian novel is the first book in the the Dark Life series. Ty has lived his entire life underneath the sea on his family's farm. Then outlaws attack his home and he meets a girl from Topside who is looking for her brother. To save both Gemma and his home he will need to admit to a secret that could save or destroy everything he loves. An interesting science fiction tale boys will enjoy.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Red Rider's Hood

Red Rider's Hood is by Neal Shusterman. The second book in the Dark Fusion series. Red owns a Mustang and lives in a tough neighborhood. When his grandmother is mugged and his Mustang is stolen by the local gang - the Wolves - Red is out for vengeance. Then he discovers that the Wolves are werewolves and his grandmother is a werewolf hunter. He infiltrates the gang to help destroy them and then discovers the lure of power. He must choose - to be human or a wolf - his friends or his grandmother. A great story.

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

Jester Leaps In

Jester Leaps In is by Alan Gordon. The second book in A Fools' Guild Mystery series. Six fools have gone missing in Constantinople and Theo and his wife must travel to the fabled city and find out what has happened to them. This series is packed with traitors, spies, assassins, and thoroughly enjoyable ploy twists and humor. Mystery lovers will not be able to put this down. This is a Reader's Corner highly recommended series. It is full of fun and surprises.

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

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey is by Trenton Lee Stewart. The second installment in the series of the same name. The four children are back and on another exciting and dangerous adventure. They are off to find Mr. Benedict and Number Two who have been kidnapped by the evil Mr. Curtain. Can they locate their mentor and save him before it's too late - after all they are only children? Another great addition to this fun series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X is by James Patterson. The first book in Patterson's exciting new series. Daniel is an alien. He is from a family of alien hunters who have come to Earth to protect humans from evil aliens - an alien version of Men in Black. When his parents are killed by an alien called The Prayer, Daniel is left to carry on their legacy. He begins working his way up "The List" until he gets to Number One, his parents' killer. At the moment he has all he can handle with the evil Ergent Seth (Number 6). With his friends and his extraordinary powers he struggles to survive and continue his parents' work.

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

The Secret of Laurel Oaks

The Secret of Laurel Oaks is by Lois Ruby. This story is based on the true history of one of the most haunted places in America. Daphne was a slave, now she is one of many ghosts who haunt Laural Oaks - once a beautiful plantation, now a bed and breakfast. Lila and her brother come to stay while their parents work in the area. Even as they arrive strange things begin to happen. Lila is convinced she must solve Daphne's secret to set her spirit free, but is this possible? A creepy tale of slavery, cruelty, betrayal, and ultimately hope.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

Coffeehouse Angel

Coffeehouse Angel is by Suzanne Selfors. After her parents' deaths Katrina lives with her grandmother over their small coffee shop. She has good friends and a rival coffeehouse next door that is driving her grandmother out of business. One day she discovers a strange man in the alley behind the shop, after giving him something to eat he claims he is an angel who must reward her kindness with a wish. Is he for real? If so, what will she wish for? A touching and beautiful story of self discovery. A Reader's Corner highly recommended read.

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

Wish

Wish is by Alexandra Bullen. The first book in a new series. Olivia and her family move to San Francisco after the death of her twin sister. Struggling with her loss, her parents' grief, and her general shyness at her new school, Olivia feels lost. Then she meets a woman who gives her three wishes. She immediately wishes for her sister back, but Violet's return isn't what Olivia expected. Now things become more complicated. What will she do when love, secrets, and her past explode around her? A charmingly inventive tale.

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

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Siren Song

The Siren Song is by Anne Ursu. The second book in The Cronus Chronicles series. Charlotte and her parents win a cruise up the Atlantic coast. There's just one problem, the contest was rigged by Poseidon who is upset with Charlotte for defeating his grandson Philonecron. While Poseidon goes after Charlotte, Philonecron kidnaps Zee and takes him to Poseidon's yacht. Now Charlotte must rescue Zee and save her family by defeating the second most powerful god in the pantheon.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Myths and Legends

Myths and Legends is by Anthony Horowitz. This is a brilliant collection of myths and legends from a variety of cultures. Included are myths and legends from the Greeks, Norse, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and more. Horowitz writes in a clear and entertaining style. A great read-aloud book.

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10.

Gods, Demigods & Demons: An Encyclopedia of Greek Mythology

Gods, Demigods & Demons: An Encyclopedia of Greek Mythology is by Bernard Evslin. A thorough reference work for all characters related to Greek Mythology. Evslin writes in a way that is easy to read and understand. A must have reference if you enjoy Greek Mythology.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

New Selected Poems of Stevie Smith

New Selected Poems of Stevie Smith is by Stevie Smith. This fascinating and funny poet wrote poems about everything - politics, religion, nature, herself, animals - with skill and humor. A must read for poetry lovers.

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

Selected Poems of Langston Hughes

Selected Poems of Langston Hughes is by Langston Hughes. A wonderful collection of poems by arguably the greatest African American poet ever. His poems do use some mild profanity and some slang that by today's standards is inappropriate, but the lyrical quality of his poetry is unmatched.

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

Spies of Mississippi

Spies of Mississippi is by Rick Bowers. A true story of Mississippi's spy network during the Civil Rights struggle of the 60's. Written in a way young people can understand, this book is a great introduction to this era in American History.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.