Sunday, March 25, 2012


Matched is by Ally Condie. The first book in a great new series. This series rivals Hunger Games in the "fantastic dystopian fiction" category. All of her life Cassia has obeyed the rules of the Society without question. On the night of her Match Banquet, she is Matched with Xander the boy of her dreams. But when she gets home and looks at his Match Card it's another boy's picture she sees. An Official from the Society tells her the next day it was all  mistake, but was it? Who is her true Match, Xander or Ky? As Cassia begins to seek the answer she finds everything she has always been told about the Society is a lie. A Reader's Corner Highly Recommended read for girls and boys alike.

Ratings: 8th grade - 10 out of 10.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary is by Gustave Flaubert. The classic French masterpiece of human desire and bondage. Emma Bovary marries a provincial country doctor thinking she will be happy with married life. She isn't, and bored with her life, abandons her loving husband and takes a lover. She descends quickly down  spiral of debt, adultry, and eventually death. It is easy to understand why this book was a scandal when it was written. I must admit this is one of the few classics that I have never liked. It is a must read, but not an easy or pleasant one.

Ratings: 11th grade - 4 out of 10 - AC (mature thematic content).

Sign of the Crescent

Sign of the Crescent is by Debbie Federici. Teenagers are disappearing from Tucson and other cities in the Southwest. One night Taryn almost becomes one of them when she is grabbed by a monster. She is saved by Erick a Haro knight from another world. He erases Taryn's memory of the event but he can't erase her from his memory. He can't resist the urge to return and see her again. Then she is captured by the servants of the evil sorcerer Synomea. He must gather his fellow knights and defeat Synomea to save his world and his love. A well told tale full of excitement, adventure, and romance. Boys and girls alike will enjoy this story.

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

I Pledge Allegiance

I Pledge Allegiance is by Chris Lynch. The first book in a great new series for boys about the Vietnam War. The series revolves around four friends from Boston. When one of the four is drafted the other three decide to join with him. They end up in various branches of the service: Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. This first book focuses on Morris and his experiences in the Navy as he tries to watch over his friends, even as he's haunted by dreams of their deaths. This is a realistic series boys will love. It is also a good insight into the Vietnam War and those who fought there.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10 - V (violence).

Stolen Children

Stolen Children is by Peg Kehret. Amy has a new babysitting job and she is very excited - until she is kidnapped along with her three-year-old charge. Now she must keep Kendra calm, find a way to escape, and keep herself alive until they can be rescued. The plot seems a little contrived and at times implausible, but if you enjoy Kehret's other works you will enjoy this one.

Ratings: 6th grade - 6 out of 10.

Aries Rising

Aries Rising is by Bonnie Hearn Hill. The first book in the Star Crossed series. Logan is a sophomore in high school. Her mother is a famous golfer and never at home. She wants to win a summer writing fellowship, but her English teacher, Mr. Franklin (Frankenstein), doesn't like her very much. She also has a boy she really likes. How can she change things in her life? She finds a book on astrology hidden in her father's room and decides to use the horoscope to get the fellowship, the guy of her dreams, and discover the identity of a group of troublemakers at her school. A very cute new series for girls.

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

The Summoning

The Summoning is by Lynne Ewing. The first book in the Sisters of Isis series. Sudi lives with her family in Washington, D.C. and is very excited when she received a mysterious invitation to a fancy restaurant. She thinks the invitation is from Scott, the boy she has a crush on. When she arrives she meets a strange man named Abdel and two girls she's never met before. Abdel informs the girls they are descendants of Egyptian pharaohs and have been given magical gifts to fight evil. Sudi thinks the guy is a nut, but then evil forces try to kill her and she discovers Abdel is telling the truth. Girls will enjoy this series.

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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Lost Hero

The Lost Hero is by Rick Riordan. The first book in Riordan's new Heroes of Olympus series. The next chapter in the Percy Jackson saga. Jason, Piper, and Leo are half-bloods. They find themselves attacked by monsters and end up at Camp Half-Blood where they are told they are demigods. Percy has gone missing and Annabeth is searching for him. The three new heroes begin a quest to rescue Hera before the world ends. If you enjoyed the Percy Jackson series you will enjoy this one as well.

Ratings: 7th grade - 6 out of 10.

Jackie & Me

Jackie & Me is by Dan Gutman. One of Gutman's charming Baseball Card Adventures series. Joe uses baseball cards to travel through time. To complete a school project he returns to 1947 to meet Jackie Robinson. A great mixture of sports, science fiction, and historical fiction. Boys will love this series.

Ratings: 5th grade - 7 out of 10.

You Are So Undead To Me

You Are So Undead To Me is by Stacey Jay. The first book in the Megan Berry series. Megan is a Zombie Settler, she helps the undead resolve their issues so they can rest in peace. She doesn't like her "job"; all she really wants is to go to the homecoming dance. Then someone at her high school starts turning the average undead into angry flesh-eating zombies and they all seem to be after Megan. What's a girl to do but stop the evil zombie raiser, before she gets eaten, and still make the dance? An off beat new series girls will enjoy.

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

The Dragon's Eye

The Dragon's Eye is by Kaza Kingsley. The first book in the Erec Rex series. Erec is twelve and has six adopted bothers and sisters. His single mother trys her best to care for them all, but they have to move a lot. When his mother goes missing one morning, Erec sets out to find her only to discover another world, a world of magic the likes of which he has never dreamed. He discovers that the kingdom and his world are in peril and he might be the only hope for both worlds. A bright and charming new series. Boys and girls alike will enjoy it.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Charlie Bone and the Shadow

Charlie Bone and the Shadow is by Jenny Nimmo. The seventh book in the Children of the Red King series. Count Harken, the Shadow, is back. Charlie's ancestors have been taken to the evil land of Badlock. Charlie travels there through a painting to save them. Runner Bean, Benjamin's dog, becomes stuck in the painting and Charlie asks Billy to help him get Runner Bean back. Then Billy gets trapped in Badlock and Charlie must rescue him as well. Can Charlie rescue Runner Bean and Billy or will the Count finally succeed? 

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Jungle

The Jungle is by Upton Sinclair. The classic tale of the horrific side of the immigrant experience told from the point of view of a Lithuanian family who comes to work in the stockyards of Chicago at the turn of the century. It movingly portrays the experiences of this family: their struggles, failures, and successes. It also paints the meat packing industry in a less than flattering light - you will never look at a hamburger the same way again. Sinclair was a proponent of Socialism and that comes through loud and clear in this book. It is an American classic and a recommended read.

Ratings: 11th grade - 8 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

Explosive Eighteen

Explosive Eighteen is by Janet Evanovich. The eighteenth book in the Stephanie Plum series finds Stephanie returning from her trip to Hawaii alone. Ranger and Morelli are both battered, bruised, and ticked off at her and she has decided to swear off men for good. Upon her return she discovers a picture that was mistakenly placed in her carry-on bag and throws it away. Then she received visits from the FBI, muscle posing as FBI, hit men, and psychotic hair dressers all looking for the mysterious picture. As if this isn't enough she comes home to find an on-the-run Joyce Barnhardt camped out in her apartment. Stephanie must solve the mystery of the picture before she gets killed and still deal with Joyce, Ranger, and Morelli. Yeesh! Fans of this series will love this installment.

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

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea is by Barbara Demick. Demick meticulously follows the lives of six individual North Koreans over a period of fifteen years, taking them through the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise of Kim Jong-Il, and the famine that devastated an already challenged country. This book is very well researched and gives you a look into North Korea that few of us have ever imagined. Considering the rise to power of the new leader in a troubled country with nuclear weapons this book is timely and a highly recommend Reader's Corner Nonfiction read.

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

American Folktales, Myths & Legends

American Folktales, Myths & Legends is edited by Leslie Conron. A collection of American folktales and poetry, this book includes selections of Native American lore, as well as stories of Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyon, and poetry by Longfellow and Moore. A good introduction to the subject for young readers.

Ratings: 6th grade - 5 out of 10.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Complete Canterbury Tales

The Complete Canterbury Tales is by Geoffrey Chaucer. Another work you must read before you die if you wish to consider yourself well read. A true work of genius, Chaucer gathers a collections of "tales" told by pilgrims on their way to visit a religious shrine. They supposedly tell these tales to alleviate the boredom of the Medieval equivalent of the modern road trip. They are a vivid portrait of the full spectrum of the human condition.

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

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare. Must read classics for every reader. There is truly nothing out there as wonderful as the "Bard of Stratford-on-Avon". How can you possibly beat magnificent works of art like "Othello", "Hamlet", "Macbeth", "King Lear", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and my personal favorite "Julius Caesar"? READ THESE PLAYS PLEASE!! The sonnets are wonderful as well.

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

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Search for the Red Dragon

The Search for the Red Dragon is by James A. Owen. The second book in The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica. The three Caretakers are summoned back to the Archipelago when all the dragon ships and the children begin to disappear. They finally come to the Underneath and discover legend can be truth and heroes are known for more than their heroic deeds. This series is a total delight for bibliophiles and adventure lovers. A Reader's Corner highly recommended book.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity).

Waiting for You

Waiting for You is by Susane Colasanti. Marisa has struggled with anxiety attacks in the past. But this is her sophomore year and she wants a new beginning, which she hopes will include her first boyfriend. Will it be the popular Derek or the geeky Nash? Then there's the anonymous D.J. whose podcasts are rocking the school. Things seem to be starting out well, but can it last?

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10.


Eragon is by Christopher Paolini. The first book in the Inheritance Cycle finds a young farm boy named Eragon hunting. He finds a blue rock and takes it home only to discover that it is a dragon egg. When the dragon hatches Eragon finds himself in a lot of trouble. When his farm is burned and his uncle killed Eragon, his dragon, and an old story teller named Brom begin the journey of a lifetime.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity).

Disney in Shadow

Disney in Shadow is by Ridley Pearson. The third book in the Kingdom Keepers series. Wayne is missing and the Kingdom Keepers must find him and thwart the Overtakers next plot before it is too late. From Disney's Hollywood Studios to Epcot the Keepers hunt for Wayne and seek clues that lead to a "Fantasmic" finish.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is by J.K. Rowling. The fifth book in the Harry Potter series. Professor Umbridge takes over Defense of the Dark Arts and eventually the whole school and Dumbledore is pushed out. Harry and his friends start Dumbledore's Army to teach willing students Defense Against the Dark Arts which they soon need as Voldemort returns with a vengeance. If you are a fan of this series you will enjoy this one as well.

Ratings: 7th grade - 5 out of 10.