Monday, January 14, 2013

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin is by Erik Larson. Another fabulous book by this amazing nonfiction genius. This is the story of the Dodd family. Mr. Dodd is Roosevelt's choice for Ambassador to Berlin in the 1930s right after Hitler came to power. It follows the family from the time they arrived in Germany until Dodd was replaced as Ambassador in 1938. This book helps readers to understand why Germans were so enamoured of Hitter and why other countries didn't act while it might have been possible to depose him. A magnificent book! A must read for all history buffs.

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

Tales of the Greek Heroes

Tales of the Greek Heroes is by Roger Lancelyn Green. A collection of ancient Greek myths retold in story fashion. Included are the stories of the labors of Hercules and Jason and  the Argonauts in their search for the Golden Fleece among others. A great introduction to Greek mythology.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Love, Stargirl

Love, Stargirl is by Jerry Spinelli. The sequel to Stargirl. Stargirl has moved away from Arizona, but she misses Leo very much. This book is a very very long letter that Stargirl writes to Leo describing her new life and how she still misses him. If you liked the first book, you'll love the sequel.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Pandora Gets Heart

Pandora Gets Heart is by Carolyn Hennesy. The fourth book in the Pandora series. Pandy and her friends are after Lust. It is embodied in the golden apple that brought about the Trojan War, so they must travel back in time with the assistance of Hermes to steal the apple from Aphrodite and place it back in the box. Another charming installment in this series.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is by Alan Bradley. The first novel in the Flavia de Luce series. This series is set in 1950s England. The de Luce family lives in the family mansion called Buckshaw. Flavia is an eleven-year-old aspiring chemist with a passion for poisons. When a dead bird is found on their doorstep and a dead man is found in their garden Flavia sets out to solve the two mysteries. This is a phenomenal series. Flavia is brilliant and precocious. Bradley adds in numerous allusions to film, literature, and poetry which will make even the most avid bibliophile happy. You won't be able to wait for Flavia's next adventure.

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

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bloodsucking Fiends

Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story is by Christopher Moore. The first novel in the Bloodsucking Fiends series. Jody never wanted to be a vampire, but when she wakes up under a dumpster in an alley her whole life changes. She must learn the rules of living as a vampire, how to escape the vampire who turned her who now seems determined to destroy her, and her new human boyfriend Thomas - who is the night manager at the local Safeway. Thomas wants to be a writer, not a Safeway frozen turkey bowler, and he certainly never planned on having a vampire for a girlfriend. Moore's brand of black humor is thoroughly delightful.

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

This Lullaby

This Lullaby is by Sarah Dessen. Remy is about to leave home for college. She has had plenty of boyfriends, soured on the concept of love by her mother, the romance writer, who is currently on husband number five. Then Dexter forces his way into her life and she can't seem to dump him, even though he doesn't have a single quality that usually attracts her to a guy. Could it be that Remy has finally found love?

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

The Named

The Named is by Marianne Curley. The first book in the Guardians of Time series. Ethan is a Guardian of Time, a secret group of gifted warriors whose job is to make sure the forces of chaos don't affect the future by changing the past. When he is given an apprentice to train, he discovers that Isabel may be the key to deciphering a prophecy that will affect all the Guardians.

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10.

Inside Delta Force: The Story of America's Elite Counterterrorist Unit

Inside Delta Force: The Story of America's Elite Counterterrorist Unit is by Eric L. Haney. The amazing story of the founding of Delta Force by one of its original members. Boys will love this story of courage, honor, and country. This is a rare novel, written for young adults it does not come across as childish or overly adult in nature. A must read for all boys.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

A Dog's Purpose: A Novel for Humans

A Dog's Purpose: A Novel for Humans is by W. Bruce Cameron. A book for dog-lovers everywhere. This is the story of one dog's purpose in life being fulfilled through a series of reincarnations. You will laugh and cry and look at your own dog in a whole new way.

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

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska's WWII Invasion

Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska's WWII Invasion is by Samantha Seiple. A fascinating historical recounting of the Japanese invasion of Alaska during WWII and why the government covered it up for so long. Most people have never heard of this series of events in American history. The pictures are amazing, as is the story.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.


Shelter is by Harlan Coben. The first Mickey Bolitar novel. Mickey is a high school sophomore whose life is in the tank. He was injured in a car crash which killed his beloved father. His mother was shattered and turned to drugs and is now in rehab. He is living with his estranged uncle and has just started in a new school. Fortunately he has a beautiful new girlfriend, but when Ashley disappears Mickey decides he must try to find her. As he searches he discovers that Ashley is not who she seemed, and neither was his father. Now Mickey, with the help of his two new friends, must learn the truth about Ashely and his father and make decisions that will change his life. A wonderfully new and unique series boys and girls will thoroughly enjoy.

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

No Accident

No Accident is by Emily Blake. The second book in the Little Secrets series. This tale of mean little rich kids continues. Kelly is being blackmailed and must decide how to strike back. Allison is caught in a tug-of-war between her jailed mother and her overbearing grandmother. Tom and Zoey are getting a new step mom and neither are thrilled. Plus, Tom has just discovered a terrible secret about his mother's death. This series is vapid and trashy, but girls will enjoy the plot twists and turns. If you enjoy "mean girl brain candy" you will like this series.

Ratings: 9th grade - 4 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).


Delirium is by Lauren Oliver. The first book in a new dystopian series for young adults. In the new United States of America love has been declared a disease that must be cured. The story is set in Portland, Maine. Lena is about to turn eighteen, she is looking forward to being "cured" and moving on with her life. Her mother committed suicide after three attempts at being "cured" and Lena longs for normalcy in her world. Then she meets Alex and begins to fall in love herself. Now she must decide whether to be "cured" or disappear into the "wild" with the other "invalids" and give up everything she has ever known.

Ratings: 9th grade - 7 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity) - AC (some mature thematic content).

A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords is by George R.R. Martin. The third book in the series entitled A Song of Ice and Fire. While Lord Stannis is not dead, he has been shamed and defeated; this leaves the two main contenders for the Iron Throne still at war. Robb Stark is King in the North and Joffrey still sits the Iron Throne. This third book continues to follow the saga of the Lannisters and Starks as they battle for rule of the Seven Kingdoms. Fans of this series will enjoy this new installment.

Ratings: Adult - 8 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content).