Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business is by Dick Van Dyke. A classic memoir of a show business legend. This book is an easy and enjoyable read. Van Dyke doesn't deliver on the dirt, but he is honest and forthcoming about both his successes and failures. A wonderful read, even for those not into nonfiction!

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

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Hunt for Red October

The Hunt for Red October is by Tom Clancy. The third novel in the Jack Ryan series. Ryan is a CIA analyst who finds himself in the field when a new Russian missile submarine goes missing. The boat, called the Red October, has a new silent propulsion system that could tip the balance of power in the Cold War. The book is filled with military and technical information that can make it a slow read, but the plot is as timely as it is suspenseful. A great read!

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

Notorious Nineteen

Notorious Nineteen is by Janet Evanovich. The nineteenth book in the Stephanie Plumb series. Stephanie is in need of rent so she is hot on the trail of several FTAs: a homeless guy who has stolen a Hawaiian tiki statue, a bartender at the local nudist beach, and a thief who stole five million dollars and then disappeared from the hospital after having his appendix removed. Then Ranger asks her to be his date for a friend's wedding, but it's not what she thinks. A maniac is threatening Ranger and his friend and Ranger wants Stephanie to help him protect the bride to be. When a second patient, one of Morelli's collars, goes missing from the same hospital Stephanie joins forces with Trenton's hottest cop to solve the mystery of the missing patients. The book is worth reading for the scene that finds Stephanie and Lula on the nudist beach. Fans of the series will love this book as well. Just when I think I am tiring of this series, Evanovich manages a fresh installment that keeps me hanging on for the ride.

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

Over Sea Under Stone

Over Sea, Under Stone is by Susan Cooper. The first book in the Dark is Rising series. Jane, Simon, and Barney Drew head out on a vacation with their parents to a seaside village in Cornwall. Their "Uncle" Merry has rented the Grey House while the owner, an old sea captain, is away. While rummaging through the house, they find a hidden entrance to the attic and discover an ancient text that shows the way to an ancient grail with mystical powers. They soon discover there are others seeking the grail to use it for evil and they must be stopped at all costs. The book starts out slowly, as it takes a while to establish the setting, but once it starts moving it is hard to put down. Boys and girls will enjoy this series. 

Ratings: 5th grade - 8 out of 10.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Serpent's Shadow

The Serpent's Shadow is by Rick Riordan. The final installment in The Kane Chronicles. Carter and Sadie Kane must battle Apophis for the final time to save the world, and the ancient Egyptian gods, from the destruction of chaos. The Kanes, their friends, and their Uncle Amos risk everything to save the world. A fulfilling ending to a charming series. Riordan's fans will not be disappointed.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10 - V (violence).


Mockingjay is by Suzanne Collins. The final installment in the wildly popular Hunger Games series. Katniss has survived the Hunger Games twice and now she must decide whether or not to take up the title of the Mockingjay and lead the rebels in a final attempt to overthrow President Snow and the Capitol. She must also face her own feelings for both Gale and Peeta, and the safety of her family now hidden in District 13. A wild ride of a conclusion that will definitely spark much discussion. It is much more violent than the other two installments.

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

A Great & Terrible Beauty

A Great & Terrible Beauty is by Libba Bray. The first book in the Gemma Doyle series. Gemma isn't like other sixteen-year-old English girls. She sees visions of the future and has the ability to move between the realms of existence. After her mother's murder in India, Gemma is placed in a prestigious English girl's finishing school. She must learn to find her own way at the Spence Academy, control her visions, and discover why a mysterious boy has followed her from India to England. A series girls will be sure to enjoy.

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

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows is by Alan Bradley. The fourth book in the Flavia de Luce series. It's Christmas time at Buckshaw and Flavia is planning to use her chemical expertise to trap Father Christmas as he comes to deliver presents. To help alleviate the family monetary trouble, Flavia's father has allowed a film crew into Buckshaw to film a movie staring the famous actress Phyllis Wyvern. Then Flavia finds Miss Wyvern murdered in the Blue Bedroom - and the fun really begins. Fans of this series will love this installment.

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

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Sonnets: Poems of Love

The Sonnets: Poems of Love is by William Shakespeare. A beautiful collection of all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets. A must read for all lovers of poetry and Shakespeare.

Ratings: 9th grade - 10 out of 10.


Halo is by Alexandra Adornetto. The first book in a new series about angels. Gabriel, Ivy, and Bethany are angels. They have been sent by God to Venus Cover to promote goodness and fight the forces of evil. Bethany, the youngest angel, falls in love with a mortal boy. Needless to say this causes a problem with her family, and she and Xavier must fight to preserve their relationship. Then the mysterious Jake Thorn arrives and all hell literally breaks loose. Can Bethany, Xavier, and her family save their friends, their school, and their town from the forces of darkness? A charming beginning to the series.

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

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Red Herring Without Mustard

A Red Herring Without Mustard is by Alan Bradley. The third book in the marvelous Flavia de Luce series. Flavia allows a gypsy woman to park her caravan on Buckshaw land. When she returns to visit the woman Flavia finds her with her head bashed in; she rushes for the doctor and saves the woman's life - but on her way back to Buckshaw she finds a dead body in a fountain. This sets Flavia on the trail of yet another murderer. She must unravel a tangle of clues and dangerous secrets to solve this one. This is charming mystery series and if you have enjoyed the other two, this one will not disappoint.

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

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp is by Rick Yancey. The first book in the Alfred Kropp series. Alfred never knew his dad, his mother has died of cancer, and he is living with his uncle in Tennessee. When Uncle Farrell decides to help a stranger steal a mysterious sword from his employer Alfred finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime. He is on the run from killers with a man who claims to be descended from a knight of the Round Table. Oh brother! A whiz-bang adventure from the get go. Boys will love this tale of adventure & growing up.

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

All Wounds

All Wounds is by Dina James. Rebecca thinks she is just a normal teenage girl trying to get through high school while taking care of her grandmother who has Alzheimer's. Then one night a wounded vampire shows up at her door and she discovers she is a Healer. A descendant of Panacea whose destiny is to care for injured otherworldly creatures. She is about to turn seventeen, the age when her powers fully manifest, and her grandmother became ill before she even began her training. If that's not bad enough there is an otherworldly war brewing and there are those who wish to kidnap her and use her powers for their own purposes. A very original concept. A story girls and boys will enjoy.

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

Dead is Not an Option

Dead is Not an Option is by Marlene Perez. The fifth book in the Dead is... series. Daisy is preparing for graduation, worrying abut which college to attend, trying to reverse the curse on Lilly and Bam, and keep up with her gorgeous were boyfriend Ryan. As usual, the conflicts raging in Nightshade aren't helping. A war is brewing between the weres and the vampires, but is the Scourge really behind it all? Another charming installment in a series girls will love.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10 - V (violence).

The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena is by Rick Riordan. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series. Percy, Annabeth, Jason, and the other four demigods head off on their quest to stop Gaea from rising. This quest takes them across the country and over the ocean to Rome where they must rescue Nico, who alone can tell them the location of the Doors of Death, and find the lost statue of Athena stolen millennia ago by the Romans. The cliffhanger ending to this book will ignite interest in the next volume for sure.

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

Demons and Druids

Demons and Druids is by James Patterson. The third book in the Daniel X series. Daniel heads to England to hunt Phosphorius Beta, evil alien number three, an explosive demon of fire. His quest takes him back in time to the Middle Ages where he meets Merlin and King Arthur. Daniel must really step up his skills for this hot number. Boys, especially, will enjoy this series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Taurus Eyes

Taurus Eyes is by Bonnie Hearn Hill. The second book in the Star Crossed series. Logan has won a spot in a summer writer's camp headed by one of her heroes, journalist Henry Jaffa. Jaffa throws everyone an unexpected curve ball when he has everyone switch topics. Can Logan use her astrology skills to defeat her competition and track down information about her new topic, dead blues singer Sean Baylor? Fans of this charming series will not be disappointed.

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

The Inside Story

The Inside Story is by Michael Buckley. The eighth book in the Sisters Grimm series. The evil Mirror has kidnapped the Grimm's baby brother and taken him into the Book of Everafter. Puck, Daphne, and Sabrina head into the book themselves to rescue him, along the way re-writing various fairy tales and running from the Editor who is trying to fix the errors they are creating. Fans of this series will not be disappointed in this book and will await the final installment anxiously.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.