Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Stolen Life: A Memoir

A Stolen Life: A Memoir is by Jaycee Dugard. Jaycee was kidnapped at age eleven and freed eighteen years later. This memoir is her story of survival and readjustment to life. She details the abuse, sexual and emotional, of her kidnappers, the birth of two daughters, and her life of loneliness and fear, as well as her struggle to adjust to freedom after eighteen years of captivity. This book is hard to read, but you come away hoping the very best for Dugard and her family.

Ratings: Adult - 7 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non-graphic sexual references).

Peter and the Shadow Thieves

Peter and the Shadow Thieves is by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. The second book in a series of books inventing new adventures for Peter Pan. In this sequel, Peter and Tinkerbell must find a way to get to London and warn Molly that a group of men and an evil being known as a Shadow Thief, are coming to steal the starstuff her father brought home from Mollusk Island. An adventure story both boys and girls will enjoy.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae is by Steven Pressfield. A truly magnificent fictionalized, though meticulously researched, account of the battle which arguably saved western civilization as we know it. This book is a recounting of the Spartan life and the famous battle told by a gravely injured Spartan squire removed from the field by the Persians and commanded to detail for Xerxes everything he knows of Spartan life, culture, and the epic sacrifice of King Leonidas and his 300. MAGNIFICENT! This book is a Reader's Corner Highly Recommended book. Yes, there is profanity and violence, but this book is also a story of courage, honor, and sacrifice that today's society sorely needs to hear.

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family

Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family is by Shelley Emling. This amazing biography picks up after the death of Pierre Curie and follows the life of Marie and her daughters, Irene and Eve, through two trips to America, WWII, and the end of their lives. The story is well told and covers matieral most readers may not be familiar with. A book that should encourage girls that a career in science is not only possible, but desirable.

Ratings: 9th grade - 9 out of 10.

Bel Canto

Bel Canto is by Ann Patchett. This is the story of an unlikely group of people who come together to celebrate the birthday of a Japanese industrialist in the home of the Vice President of an unnamed South American country. After the dinner, a famous opera singer gives a performance. Then the group finds themselves taken hostage by a local guerrilla group. This intense character study unfolds over the next four months as the captors and hostages begin to bond. The ending is surprising and somewhat strains belief.

Ratings: 11th grade - 7 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content).

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is by Stieg Larsson. The first book in The Millennium Trilogy. Disgraced Swedish journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired by an aging titan of industry to solve the mystery of his favorite relative's disappearance forty years ago. Mikael and a tattooed computer hacker named Lizbeth Salander, who has problems of her own, embark on an investigation that takes them places they never imagined. Their investigation unearths a story of decades of abuse and murder that may well cost them both their lives. This is an excellent murder mystery, but it is filled with profanity, violence, and very mature thematic content. This book is not recommended for readers under eighteen.

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

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Nightmarys

The Nightmarys is by Dan Poblocki. Timothy and Abigail are having nightmares that seem very very real. When they team up for a school project they realize their nightmares may be related to a curse. The curse stems from a strange artifact that is stolen from the museum the day their school science class goes there on a field trip. The two friends realize that if they don't solve this mystery they, and others, they care about will die. What will they have to do to make "the nightmarys" go away?

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

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is by Rebecca Skloot. In the 1950s, without her knowledge or permission, doctors took cells from Henrietta's cervical cancer tumor and discovered the cells were immortal when cultured. Henrietta's cells, known to scientists as HeLa, have been instrumental in innumerable scientific discoveries over the decades. Rebecca Skloot decided to write a book about Henrietta and her cells and discovered a story very different from the one she intended to write. This book reads more like a novel than a scientific treatise. It is totally understandable and brings into focus both the scientific and ethical issues surrounding HeLa and the effect her cells had on science and the family she left behind. A magnificent book, well worth the read!

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

Blood Wolf

Blood Wolf is by Steve Feasey. The third installment of the Wereling series. Lucien and Alexa are trying to track down the Necrotroph who has invaded their organization with the help of the recently possessed Phillippa Tipsbury. Trey travels to Canada to meet his uncle and learn more about his family. What he learns might very well destroy him. This book sets the stage for the next installment very well. A series boys will thoroughly enjoy.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10 - V (violence).

The Alchemyst

The Alchemyst is by Michael Scott. The first book in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. The legendary alchemist, Nicholas Flamel and his wife Perenelle have been alive for centuries. They have been protecting the book of Abraham the Mage from Dr. John Dee and other Dark Eternals. When Dee tries to take the book from the Flamel's at their San Francisco book store two teenagers come to their aid and find themselves caught up in an ancient prophecy in which they will either save the world or destroy it. A series both boys and girls will enjoy.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Devil's Kiss

Devil's Kiss is by Sarwat Chadda. Billi is the youngest, and only female, member of the Knight's Templar. She has grown up being trained to fight evil instead of going to school or on dates. When her childhood friend Kay returns from Jerusalem as an Oracle she doesn't know what to do because she's just met Michael a darkly handsome stranger. Then children begin to die and Billi discovers Michael is really the Angel of Death and she and the rest of the Templars must find a way to defeat him or they, and all the firstborn in London, will die.

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


Paranormalcy is by Kiersten White. Evie hunts and tags paranormals for the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA). She wants nothing more than to be a normal teenager, but she's the only person in the world who can see through paranormal glamours. When Lend, a type of paranormal she's never seen before, breaks into the IPCA Evie finds herself drawn to him. Then paranormals start dying and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and dangerous prophecies. Will she escape her frightening destiny and be able to remain with Lend, or will she kill him and all the other paranormals with him?

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

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook is by Matthew Quick. Pat is a man who believes his life is a movie that plays in his head, that if he becomes physically fit and learns to be "nice" instead of "right" God will return his estranged wife and they will live happily ever after. Pat has spent time in a mental health facility - DUH! After Pat is released to come live with his parents he tries to continue his mission to win back Nikki and repair his relationships with his family. Then a friend introduces him to Tiffany, who also has issues, and the fun begins. This is a delightful novel, poignant and entertaining at the same time. Pats obsessions with Nikki, physical fitness, and the Philadelphia Eagles add charm to this story.

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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gone Girl

Gone Girl is by Gillian Flynn. Nick and his wife are both former New York journalists who have lost their jobs. They have moved to Nick's hometown in Missouri to be closer to his dying parents. He uses the last of his wife's trust fund to buy a bar that he runs with his sister. On the morning of their 5th wedding anniversary, Nick discovers his wife, Amy, is missing. As the investigation continues the police become convinced Nick murdered his wife, but did he? Is Amy dead or did she frame her husband for her murder? I must admit I did not like this novel. There was not one likable character in the entire book. I didn't like Nick, Amy, Nick's parents, Amy's parents, Nick's mistress, the press, the police, the attorney, or any of Amy's dupes. The book is loaded with evil sociopaths, people with serious mental and emotional issues, and the J.P.S. (just plain stupid). Almost everyone I know loves this book, except for me - so those of you who know me take that for what you will.

Ratings: Adult - 2 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence).